Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

North Korea's Kim Meets With Chinese Official in Pyongyang

North Korea's Kim Meets With Chinese Official in Pyongyang

A high-ranking Beijing official met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while leading a group of Chinese performers to Pyongyang, in apparent attempts to strengthen bilateral ties.

In this April 14, 2018, photo provided Sunday, April 15, 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with Song Tao, head of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's global department in North Korea.

The art troupe, led by Song, arrived in Pyongyang on Friday in a sign of improving relations between the two countries since Kim's recent visit to China.

The two exchanged "profound views on the important matters of mutual concern" and the global situation, KCNA said, without providing details. It, however, did not specify what the important matters were.

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".

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Kim's recent trip to China was interpreted as a move to rally support from the North's closest ally before his planned summit talks with South Korean and US leaders.

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.

DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

This time around, Song promised "a fresh contribution to promoting the prolonged and stable development of the China-DPRK relations".

North Korea's relationship with its sole ally during the 1950-1953 Korean war had strained when China pushed United Nations to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons programme.

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Kim Jong Un "warmly" greeted Song Tao and the Chinese delegation visiting Pyongyang to perform.

Both North Korean and foreign artists take part, and this year's week-long event includes concerts, dance performances and acrobatics. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, attended.

China has sent art troupes to every festival since 1986, except in 2016.

Officials from the two Koreas also met on Saturday at the North's side of the Demilitarised Zone to discuss setting up a hotline between their leaders, Seoul's presidential office said yesterday.

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