Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Chinese official, art troupe to attend North Korea festival

Chinese official, art troupe to attend North Korea festival

An empty seat presumed to be the leader's could be seen in photographs distributed by North Korea's central news agency and there was no mention of his attendance in the state media reports.

The visit comes in a thawing sign of the two countries' strained ties after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a surprise visit to Beijing last month for a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi held bilateral talks with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho on April 3.

Kim spoke at a meeting of the politburo of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, which approved a budget for the year that's to be presented to parliament, due to convene Wednesday, KCNA said.

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Baik Tae-hyun, a spokesman for South Korea's unification ministry, said Seoul believes the Chinese delegation's trip is "part of the efforts to strengthen friendly cultural exchanges between North Korea and China following their summit".

That would be a non-starter for nearly any U.S. president, or for Seoul.

"We will closely watch whether a concert in China by a North Korean art troupe could be pushed for again after its thwarted performance in December 2015".

As of 12 April, the China-based, North Korea-run Our Nation School is still linking to the spoof account.

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President Donald Trump offered a timeline Monday, saying the summit would be held in May or early June, but the communist state had largely maintained silence on the issue after delivering an invitation via South Korean envoys.

"Meetings are being set up right now between myself and Kim Jong Un", Trump told reporters as quoted by a White House press pool report.

But during Kim's visit to China, Song warmly welcomed him in what appears to be a special train that carried Kim and his entourage to China.

One North Korean expert said the visit was a sign that China's diplomacy on Pyongyang is "getting more active" and suggests it is now rooted in two primary goals.

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