Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

North Korea's Kim Jong-un meets senior Chinese envoy

North Korea's Kim Jong-un meets senior Chinese envoy

Song arrived with a Chinese troupe to attend a spring art festival commemorating the birth anniversary of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15.

Pyongyang is on a charm offensive accompanying the sudden diplomatic rapprochement on the peninsula, with a summit due later this month between leader Kim Jong Un and the South's President Moon Jae-in.

"In March, Kim visited Beijing, his first visit overseas since ascending to power in 2011".

The two sides also exchanged views on strengthening exchanges and cooperation between the two parties and two countries, as well as global and regional issues of common concerns.

The North's official KCNA news agency said Mr Kim Jong Un welcomed Mr Song Tao and his delegation in a meeting on Saturday at which Mr Song conveyed Mr Xi Jinping's "warm greetings".

Footage broadcast on Chinese state television on Sunday evening showed Kim greeting Song with a warm hug and the pair later dining in a large hall adorned with a giant picture of Kim and Xi together last month.

In response, Song told Kim that it was Beijing's "unswerving preserve, consolidate, and develop relations" with the North, it added.

Since early in the morning people had been carrying flowers to the monuments of Kim Il Sung and his son and successor Kim Jong Il on Mansu hill in the center of Pyongyang.

North Korea's ties with China, its sole ally, had become strained over the past couple of years over the North's contentious missile and nuclear tests.

Both North Korean and foreign artists take part, and this year's week-long event includes concerts, dance performances and acrobatics.

He said that the visit of the Chinese art troupe to the DPRK aims to implement the consensus, enrich the China-DPRK friendship, promote exchanges and cooperation between the two parties and enhance cultural and artistic exchanges between the two countries.

The troupe performed on Saturday at the Mansudae Art Theatre, and Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju watched the ballet Giselle performed by the National Ballet of China, but Kim was not present, KCNA said. China has sent art troupes to every festival since 1986, except in 2016.

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