Published: Mon, April 16, 2018

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

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

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

'He said with deep emotion that the Chinese comrades accorded cordial hospitality to him with utmost sincerity in token of warm comradely friendship during his recent unforgettable visit to China, ' the KCNA said.

North Korea's state broadcaster Korean Central Television said Sunday that Song Tao, who leads the Chinese Communist Party's International Department, held a meeting with Kim on Saturday to "exchange in-depth opinions on areas of mutual interest including major issues and world order".

The two exchanged "profound views on important matters of mutual concern" and the global situation, KCNA said, without providing details.

But Kim now plans to develop the traditional friendship 'into a fresh phase of development, ' the state media report added.

The two countries' relations had been icy since China complied with worldwide sanctions against trade with North Korea a year ago in response to nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Song reportedly responded by saying it is China's unshakable policy to consolidate and develop their relations.

When nuclear-armed North Korea put on a flower show a year ago to celebrate the birthday of its founder Kim Il Sung, scale model rockets were on display.

The festival is a part of the celebrations of the Day of the Sun, which commemorates the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, founder and former president of North Korea.

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

Kim hosted a dinner banquet for Song and the art troupe on Saturday in Pyongyang, where North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra played music and Song and Choe Ryong-hae, vice chairman of the Workers' Party's Central Committee, made a toast to improve North-China relations, the KCNA reported.

Officials from the two Koreas also met on Saturday at the North's side of the Demilitarised Zone to discuss setting up a hotline between their leaders, Seoul's presidential office said yesterday.

The two sides will hold another working-level meeting on Wednesday to agree on protocol, security measures and media coverage of the April 27 summit.

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