Kim Jong A call to strengthen the links between North Korea and China

Ⓒ KCNA VIA KNS/AFP – – – | North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Song Tao (d), who heads the international department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, on April 14, 2018 in Pyongyang

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, met with a leading Chinese official in Pyongyang and took the opportunity to launch a call to strengthen ties with Beijing, the North Korean official press agency KCNA reported on Sunday.

Kim met with Song Tao, who heads the international department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, which heads a cultural delegation attending the spring festival in the North Korean capital.

This delegation comes a few weeks after Kim made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping.

Kim is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in this month and with US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.

The official KCNA agency said Kim welcomed Song and his delegation at a meeting on Saturday, in which the Chinese official conveyed Xi’s “warm greetings”.

The two held “an exchange of their positions on important issues of mutual interest,” the agency added, without giving further details.

“The supreme leader said that he would carry forward and develop the traditional friendship between RPCN (North Korea) and China to take it to a new phase, as a new era requires,” he said using the acronym RPCN to refer to the country.

Beijing is North Korea’s main ally, a link that dates back to the Korean War (1950-1953), but relations have deteriorated after China backed UN sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear program.

China sends artistic groups to this festival every year since 1986, with the sole exception of the 2016 edition.

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