North Korea commemorates birth of its founder Kim II Sung

North Korea commemorates birth of its founder Kim II Sung

North Korea commemorates birth of its founder Kim II Sung

North Korean Kim Jong-un leader met a Chinese delegation accompanying an art troupe visiting Pyongyang, in the latest gesture of rapprochement between the two countries following years of tension, state media reported on Sunday.

Song is leading a Chinese art troupe that has been in North Korea since Friday.

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North Korea's relationship with its sole ally during the 1950-1953 Korean war had strained when China pushed United Nations to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons programme.

Song told Kim that he intended his visit to help to advance the two leaders' consensus in developing this "new phase" of bilateral relations and in making contributions toward safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, according to the television report. The presidential body aims at expanding ties with northern countries, such as China, Russia and possibly North Korea. Song, head of the International Department in the Communist Party's Central Committee, reportedly replied that it was the Chinese government and Communist Party's "firm policy" to work toward improving relations between both countries. On Saturday, the National Ballet of China staged a performance of "Giselle" at the Mansudae Art Theatre in Pyongyang. The 34-year-old leader described his visit to China last month as "unforgettable" thanks to the "warm comradeship" of the Chinese. Sent by President Xi Jinping to discuss the outcome of China's 19th Party Congress, Song had returned home without meeting Kim Jong-un.

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Song Young-gil, who heads the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation, met officials from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Charhar Institute, the committee said.

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.

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Kim will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 at the border between the two countries, and US President Donald Trump in May or early June at a yet-to-be determined venue.

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