Saturday, 18 August, 2018

In sign of thaw, Kim meets senior Chinese diplomat

The asiatic toads often go ashore after rain when the air is humid and the temperature is low The asiatic toads often go ashore after rain when the air is humid and the temperature is low
Melinda Barton | 15 April, 2018, 22:26

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.

Song arrived with a Chinese troupe to attend a spring art festival commemorating the birth anniversary of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15.

"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 meeting suggests stronger bilateral ties after Kim Jong-un made a surprise visit to Beijing last month and met Chinese President Xi Jinping in his first trip outside the country as North Korea's leader.

Footage broadcast on Chinese state television on Sunday evening showed Kim greeting Song with a warm hug and the pair later dining in a large hall adorned with a giant picture of Kim and Xi together last month.

"According to the report, Kim expressed satisfaction with the meeting, saying he will "take the North Korea-China friendship to a whole new level, in line with new generational demands" by strengthening exchanges between high-level officials as well as cooperation and visits in various sectors".

The two countries' relations had been icy since China complied with global sanctions against trade with North Korea a year ago in response to nuclear and ballistic missile tests. Song, head of the International Department in the Communist Party's Central Committee, reportedly replied that it was the Chinese government and Communist Party's "firm policy" to work toward improving relations between both countries. 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.