The fiery £2,000 bottle of liquor that helped charm Kim Jong-un

The fiery £2,000 bottle of liquor that helped charm Kim Jong-unNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un was treated to the most expensive tipple in Xi Jinping's drinks cabinet during their historic meeting  - a £2,200 bottle of 53 percent liquor which the Chinese president rarely opens for foreign guests. Mr Xi, whose signature domestic policy is a war on corruption and excess among free-spending officials, was pictured with a giggling Kim drinking a fiery grain alcoholic beverage known as baijiu during the pair's summit in Beijing earlier this week. An expert in the beverage – which is hugely popular in China and produced by the world's biggest distiller by market value, Kweichow Moutai – said the bottle would have cost at least 20,000 yuan (£2,260). "I have rarely seen this type of Moutai at official banquets," said Kan Yuanbin, who runs Zenpintang, a large Moutai retailer in China's south-eastern Jiangxi province. "It is a 2003 product and very special. When Xi previously welcomed foreign guests, they usually only drank Moutai bottles worth about 4,000 yuan (£450) that were produced in 2015 or 2016," he told The Telegraph. The bottle of luxury 2003 vintage Kweichow Moutai at the Kim-Xi dinner, left, and an earlier version Credit: KCNA Mr Xi treated the young North Korean leader to a welcome banquet at Beijing's Mao-era Great Hall of the People, and also a luncheon the following day at the Diaoyutai Guest House. The bottle of Moutai drank by the pair, which is known as Aizui Moutai, would not be available to ordinary Chinese consumers, Mr Kan said. Luxury Moutai bottles which are on sale on the Chinese internet for affordable prices are often fakes, he added. Baijiu is popular among affluent Chinese, and it is often offered to foreign guests at banquets. Employees arrange bottles of Moutai baijiu at the Kweichow Moutai Co. factory in the town of Maotai in Renhuai Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg The clear drink has a distinctive strong taste and a pungent smell which some say is similar to paint stripper. Previous foreign guests to be offered Moutai by Chinese leaders include Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who drank it during a state banquet for their landmark visit to China in 1972. Mr Xi and Mr Kim were also pictured drinking wine during a summit which observers said helped put the Chinese president back in the driving seat in dealing with Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Kim is set to meet South Korean leader Moon Jae-in next month before holding talks with US president Donald Trump. President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un raising their glasses at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Credit: KCNA/AFP Experts believed the sudden elevation of Mr Kim as a 'statesman' had left Mr Xi in an awkward position, on the sidelines of crucial talks which could shape the future of north-east Asia. While the expensive drinks he offered his distinguished guest might have helped get him back in the diplomatic fray, anti-corruption agencies in China would frown upon such generosity being replicated across China. Expensive tastes have been targeted by authorities since Mr Xi launched his war on graft when he assumed power five years ago. Additional reporting by Christine Wei



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