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N Korea's Kim greets Chinese official, calls for stronger ties

AFP  |  Seoul 

North Korean leader personally greeted a top Chinese in and called for stronger ties with Beijing, said today, as the traditional allies seek to heal battered relations.

Kim met with Song Tao, of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's international department, who was leading an art troupe to attend a in the North's capital.

The delegation arrived just weeks after Kim made a surprise visit to and met with Chinese Xi Jinping, signalling an attempt by both leaders to shore up a key alliance ahead of a period of high-stakes diplomacy.

Kim is expected to hold summits with South Korean Moon Jae-in this month and US in the following weeks.

The North's agency said Kim welcomed Song and his delegation in a meeting on Saturday, where Song conveyed Xi's "warm greetings".

The two exchanged "profound views on the important matters of mutual concern" between their parties and the international situation, said, without providing details.

"The said that he would positively carry forward and develop the traditional DPRK-friendship into a fresh phase of development as required by a new era," it added, using the North's acronym.

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.

More high-level exchanges and cooperation will follow between and Pyongyang, the report cited Kim as saying.

In response, Song vowed to make "a fresh contribution to promoting the prolonged and stable development of the China-DPRK relations".

Song is leading a Chinese art troupe attending a spring art festival in held 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.

also issued a rare separate report on Kim's wife who attended a performance by the Chinese art troupe yesterday in the absence of her husband.

"First Lady enjoyed a ballet choreodrama 'Giselle' given by the National Ballet of China," KCNA reported, adding she held "friendly talk" with the guests ahead of the performance.

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

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

First Published: Sun, April 15 2018. 07:50 IST