Kim meets Chinese senior official, fetes Chinese art troupe

SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Chinese senior diplomat Song Tao, and feted a Chinese art troupe led by Mr Song, North Korean state media said on Sunday, indicating closer ties with China following Mr Kim’s surprise visit to Beijing last month.

The North Korean leader on Saturday “warmly” greeted Mr Song and the Chinese delegation visiting Pyongyang to perform and also expressed his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping after Mr Song conveyed Mr Xi’s greetings to Mr Kim, the North’s official Korea Central News Agency said.

“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.

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

The art troupe performed on Saturday at the Mansudae Art Theatre, and the North Korean leader Mr Kim’s wife Ri Sol Ju watched a ballet “Giselle,” performed by the National Ballet of China, but Mr Kim was not present, the KCNA said.

At the meeting with Song, Mr Kim also said the warm welcome was “due obligation and behaviour 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.

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