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Chinese official meets Kim Jong Un, ahead of inter-Korean summit

15 April 2018, 11:07 | Taylor George

Bad news

Bad news

North Korea is marking its biggest national holiday by playing up its intention to strengthen ties with China.

North Korean Kim Jong-un leader met a Chinese delegation accompanying an art troupe visiting Pyongyang, in the latest gesture of rapprochement between the two countries following years of tension, state media reported on Sunday.

It follows the North Korean leader's surprise visit to Beijing last month.

He also expressed his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping after Song conveyed Xi's greetings to Kim, the North's official Korea Central News Agency said.

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

The Chinese art troupe, led by Song, the head of the Communist Party's International Department, left for North Korea on Friday for an April Spring Friendship Art Festival.

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State-run television aired footage of Kim's meeting with Song Tao, the chief of China's Communist Party's International Department, in Pyongyang on Saturday.

Kim hosted a dinner banquet for Song and the art troupe on Saturday in Pyongyang, where North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra played music and Song and Choe Ryong-hae, vice chairman of the Workers' Party's Central Committee, made a toast to improve North-China relations, the KCNA reported.

This time, Beijing sent Mr. Song and an art troupe to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, to attend an global art festival.

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.

Kim added that he will advance and develop the traditional friendship into a new phase by promoting mutual cooperation and visits, including high-level delegations.

Mr. Kim's friendly welcome also contrasted with the reception that Mr. Song received the last time he visited North Korea, as a special envoy of Mr. Xi in November.



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