Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

North Korea's Kim Jong-un meets senior Chinese envoy

North Korea's Kim Jong-un meets senior Chinese envoy

North Koreans are taught from an early age to revere their leaders, and portraits of the two late rulers gaze down in every home, school and workplace in the country.

The Chinese art troupe is attending a spring art festival held as part of the commemorations for the anniversary of the birth of the North's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, 1912.

Mr Song also conveyed Mr Xi's greetings to Kim.

The North Korean leader on Saturday "warmly" greeted Song Tao and a Chinese art delegation visiting Pyongyang to perform, and also sent his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the North's official Korea Central News Agency said.

While the KCNA article listed other high-ranking regime members who attended the performance - including military official Choe Ryong-hae, national intelligence head Kim Yong Chol, and Kim's sister and head of propaganda Kim Yo-jong - they were reportedly given the designation "comrades", signifying a lower status than Ri.

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Mr Kim met Mr Song Tao, head of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's worldwide department, who was leading an art troupe to a spring festival in the North's capital.

A researcher at a state-run think tank here said, "Ri Sol-ju is playing a suitable role in repackaging Kim Jong-un as the leader of a normal nation". The couple received a red carpet treatment in China last month on their first foreign trip since Kim took power in December 2011 and Ri was also sitting at the table during the visit of South Korean presidential aide Chung Eui-yong in March, who traveled to the White House shortly afterward to propose a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has met a Chinese senior diplomat, North Korean state media say, indicating closer ties with China after Kim's surprise visit to Beijing last month.

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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