Kim Jong-un meets top Chinese official, calls for strengthening ties
16 April, 2018, 02:19 | Author: Brenda Erickson
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally greeted a top Chinese official in Pyongyang and called for stronger ties with Beijing, state media reported yesterday, as the allies seek to heal battered relations.
The event is part of the annual commemorations for the anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Un's grandfather Kim Il Sung on April 15, and features tens of thousands of the purple orchids named after the North's founder by the then Indonesian leader Sukarno in 1965.
'He said with deep emotion that the Chinese comrades accorded cordial hospitality to him with utmost sincerity in token of warm comradely friendship during his recent unforgettable visit to China, ' the KCNA said.
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"The Supreme Leader said that he would positively carry forward and develop the traditional DPRK-China friendship into a fresh phase of development as required by a new era", it added, using the North's official acronym.
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".
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. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, attended.
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.
That contrasts with Song's last visit to Pyongyang last November, when he was sent as Xi's special enjoy to discuss the outcome of China's 19th Party Congress. Song returned to Beijing without meeting Kim.
Song Young-gil, who heads the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation, met officials from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Charhar Institute, the committee said. He said that that will contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.
The broadcaster did not specify which issues were on the agenda but the widely expected meeting is believed to be a continuation of talks between Beijing and Pyongyang regarding Kim's upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States on denuclearization.
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