In sign of thaw, Kim meets senior Chinese diplomat

Kim Jong-un of North Korea Fetes Chinese Envoy as Ties Warm

Kim Jong-un of North Korea Fetes Chinese Envoy as Ties Warm

Kim made his first visit to China in March, in a secret trip that reopened ties between the two governments after years of strained relations due to Beijing's opposition to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme and support of global sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea is marking its biggest national holiday by playing up its intention to strengthen ties with China.

Kim on Saturday vowed to solidify the bond between North Korea's Workers' Party and China's Communist Party through high-level exchanges.

This time around, Song promised "a fresh contribution to promoting the prolonged and stable development of the China-DPRK relations".

Song is heading a delegation that arrived in Pyongyang on Friday which includes an art troupe taking part in the April Spring Friendship Art Festival. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, attended.

As he accorded warm hospitality to Song, Kim remembered his recent visit to China.

Footage broadcast on Chinese state television on Sunday evening showed Kim greeting Song with a warm hug and the pair later dining in a large hall adorned with a giant picture of Kim and Xi together last month. Sent by President Xi Jinping to discuss the outcome of China's 19th Party Congress, Song had returned home without meeting Kim Jong-un.

Song met several North Korean officials, including Choe, but not Kim. He said that that will contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

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.

Sunday marked the 106th birthday of North Korea's late founder Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-un's grandfather, but the regime kept its celebrations low-key this year, refraining from launching a ballistic missile or holding a military parade as in the past.

The broadcaster did not specify which issues were on the agenda but the widely expected meeting is believed to be a continuation of talks between Beijing and Pyongyang regarding Kim's upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States on denuclearization.

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