Kim meets Chinese official, calls for strengthening ties

Cheryl Sanders
April 15, 2018

The North Korean regime is witnessing a period of intense diplomatic activity ahead of the historic summits it will hold with South Korea and the United States this spring to discuss sensitive matters including denuclearization.

In late March, Kim made a rare visit to Beijing and met Xi, Kim's first known journey overseas since he took power in 2011. The presidential body aims at expanding ties with northern countries, such as China, Russia and possibly North Korea.

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North Korea on Sunday marked the 106th anniversary of the birth of its late founder Kim Il Sung with no signs of provocations towards the worldwide community amid a reduction in tensions following Pyongyang's shift toward diplomacy.

Song arrived in Pyongyang last Friday to lead a Chinese art troupe performing in the North's April Spring Friendship Art Festival. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, attended. The 34-year-old leader described his visit to China last month as "unforgettable" thanks to the "warm comradeship" of the Chinese. Kim and Song also exchanged their views on deepening the bilateral relations, the KCNA said.

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. 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. 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 met several North Korean officials, including Choe, but not Kim.

Kim will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 at the border between the two countries, and US President Donald Trump in May or early June at a yet-to-be determined venue.

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