NK leader says Chinese artists' visit will help strengthen ties

Women carrying flowers arrive at Mansu hill to pay their respects before the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-Il

Xi's planned trip to Pyongyang appeared to have been on the agenda of a weekend meeting between Kim and a senior Chinese official in Pyongyang, it said.

The art troupe's visit "serves as a significant occasion in carrying forward and further consolidating the tradition" of the two countries' relations, Kim was quoted as saying.

He said he would offer 'all conditions for the Chinese art troupe at the highest level and on a top-priority basis, ' according to the KCNA. The warm welcome is in stark contrast to Chinese diplomats' last visit to Pyongyang in November as President Xi's special envoy, where he returned without meeting with Kim.

"He (Song Tao) said that Comrade Xi Jinping is attaching very great importance to the joint agreement made with Comrade Kim Jong Un", KCNA reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (second from left) and his wife Ri Sol-ju watches a ballet choreodrama of "Red Women Company" by the Chinese art troupe on Monday, April 16.

Kim and Song also exchanged their views on deepening the bilateral relations, the KCNA claimed.

China and North Korea are trying to fix relations, which have been strained as Beijing has backed a series of United Nations sanctions meant to pressure Pyongyang to stop its nuclear activities.

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The Chinese diplomat named Song Tao was highly welcomed last Saturday by the North Korea's supreme leader Kim.

Till the end of past year, Kim was completely against any talks on ending his nuclear weapon program, but his recent changeover to meet the US President and shift towards dialogue have highly surprised everyone as he was mainly considered a warmonger.

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

China wants to stick to the "right path" of bilateral ties with India, explore new areas for cooperation and ensure sound and steady development of the relationship, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today.

The North Korean leader also expressed his desire that China-DPRK art exchanges would continue following the festival.

"Officials from the two foreign ministers also met".

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