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15 April 2018, 10:25 | Erica Roy
North Korea's Kim Jong-un meets senior Chinese envoy
A high-ranking Beijing official met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while leading a group of Chinese performers to Pyongyang, in apparent attempts to strengthen bilateral ties.
Marking the two sides' efforts to boost their ties, Song arrived in the North on Friday, with the cultural delegation, to participate in the April Spring Friendship Art Festival, which commemorates regime founder Kim Il Sung's birth on Apr. 15. The 34-year-old leader described his visit to China last month as "unforgettable" thanks to the "warm comradeship" of the Chinese.
Kim made his first visit to China in March, in a secret trip that reopened ties between the two governments after years of strained relations due to Beijing's opposition to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme and support of global sanctions against North Korea.
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.
During the meeting with Song, Kim also said he would "positively carry forward and develop the traditional North Korea-China friendship into a fresh phase of development" by "further strengthening of the bilateral relations", KCNA reported. In attendance were China's ambassador to North Korea, Li Jinjun, and other diplomats from the embassy, as well as Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's younger sister and first vice director of the Workers' Party's Central Committee, and other top-ranking North Korean officials.
Song highlighted that China's vision for its One Belt, One Road development policy can be shared with South Korea's New North policy, contending that the cooperation between the two countries can create more opportunities. He said that that will contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.
The change may be related to upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States, in which Kim has promised to hold talks about some form of denuclearization.
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