Senior Chinese Official to Lead Art Troupe to North Korea

Marsha Scott
April 13, 2018

"I think this will play a positive role in the deepening the cultural exchanges between China and the DPRK", Geng said, using the North's acronym.

The delegation will leave on Friday to attend the April Spring Friendship Art Festival at the invitation of North Korea's Workers' Party, China's official Xinhua news agency said in a brief report.

North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly convened on Wednesday where state finances were discussed, North Korean state media reported on Thursday, while leader Kim Jong Un appeared to be absent from the proceedings. Following his summit with Xi, Kim dispatched his foreign minister to Moscow, reportedly exploring the possibility of a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The festival is held in Pyongyang as part of the commemorations for the anniversary of the birth of the North's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, 1912. This year's event will be held from Wednesday to next Tuesday.

Following Kim's visit to Beijing, the trip "serves as an important cultural exchange activity to implement the significant consensuses reached by the top leaders", Geng said.

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For years China was North Korea's sole major ally, but their relations have become strained over the past couple of years over Pyongyang's relentless testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear devices.

North Korea's all-female Moranbong Band abruptly canceled a planned performance in Beijing in 2015 and returned home amid reports that China complained about the North's plan to show footage of Pyongyang's development of a hydrogen bomb on stage.

China, the North's only ally and main economic benefactor, has been implementing tough worldwide sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea has told the United States it is prepared to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula when Mr Kim meets Mr Trump, a U.S. official told Reuters on Sunday. For China, the Xi-Kim summit apparently helped highlight Beijing's leverage over the North in resolving the North's nuclear standoff.

Song had visited Pyongyang late past year to brief officials about the party's October congress. "It seems that the North-China relations are fast normalizing", said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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