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China to send art troupe to North Korea festival

AFP  |  Beijing 

will send a with an art troupe to for a festival celebrating the country's founder, said today, as the neighbours seek to heal battered relations.

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 agency said in a brief report.

Song Tao, the of the Chinese Central Committee's international department, will lead the mission.

Song had visited late last year to brief officials about the party's October congress.

The festival is held in as part of the commemorations for the anniversary of the birth of the North's founder Sung on April 15, 1912.

Both North Korean and foreign artists take part, and this year's week-long event includes concerts, dance performances and acrobatics.

has sent art troupes to every festival since 1986, except in 2016.

is North Korea's sole major ally, an alliance dating back to the 1950-1953 Korean War, but relations deteriorated after backed sanctions to punish over its nuclear weapons programme.

Both sides have since sought to improve ties, with North Korea's meeting Chinese last month in -- the young leader's first known trip abroad.

Kim's visit was seen as an attempt by both leaders to shore up a key alliance ahead of the North Korean leader's planned summits with South Korean Moon Jae-in this month and US in the following weeks.

Baik Tae-hyun, a for South Korea's unification ministry, said believes the Chinese delegation's trip is "part of the efforts to strengthen friendly cultural exchanges between and China following their summit".

Seoul, Baik added, "will watch with interest whether it will lead to a performance in China by North Korean artists that was cancelled in December 2015".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 10:40 IST