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

16 April, 2018, 14:43 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Asia markets mostly up after forecast-beating China growth

North Korea has commemorated the 106th anniversary of the birth of its founder, in a celebration notable for the absence of Pyongyang's displays of its military might.

The North Korean leader on Saturday "warmly" greeted Song Tao and a Chinese art delegation visiting Pyongyang to perform, and also sent his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the North's official Korea Central News Agency said.

North Korean First Lady Ri Sol Ju meets Song Tao, the head of the China's Communist Party's International Department who led a Chinese art troupe to North Korea for the April Spring Friendship Art Festival, in this handout photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 15.

At the meeting with Song, Kim also said the warm welcome was 'due obligation and behavior of the host and close friend for him, ' and would offer 'all conditions for the Chinese art troupe at the highest level and on a top-priority basis, ' according to the KCNA.

Kim met Song Tao, head of the Chinese Communist Party central committee's worldwide department, who was leading an art troupe to a spring festival in the North's capital. The North Korean reports of the banquet noted the welcome given to the ruling couple at the event.

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While very little is known about the Ri, she was officially identified as Kim Jong Un's wife in state media in 2012.

Ri's increased public profile comes as her husband seeks to improve his own image and the country's standing internationally.

In late March, Kim made a rare visit to Beijing and met Xi, Kim's first known journey overseas since he took power in 2011.

Experts say that could undermine the USA administration's goal of persuading Kim to abandon his nuclear ambitions just weeks ahead of a planned summit between the two leaders.

There were no posters of missiles or militarist slogans, which is believed to be connected with the upcoming talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week, as well as Kim's meeting with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for early June.

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