Chinese official meets Kim Jong Un, ahead of inter-Korean summit


Chinese official meets Kim Jong Un, ahead of inter-Korean summit

North Korea's leader met a senior Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang on Saturday and "earnestly discussed crucial issues" regarding the two countries' relations, the North's state-run media reported Sunday.

Kim met Song Tao, the head of the Communist Party of China's International Department, on Saturday, and the two exchanged "profund views on the important matters of mutual concern", Efe quoted the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying.

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.

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. The presidential body aims at expanding ties with northern countries, such as China, Russia and possibly North Korea.

Song arrived in Pyongyang last Friday to lead a Chinese art troupe performing in the North's April Spring Friendship Art Festival. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, attended.

"He said with deep emotion that the Chinese comrades accorded cordial hospitality to him with utmost sincerity in token of warm comradely friendship during his recent unforgettable visit to China", the KCNA said.

Late last month, the North Korean leader made a surprise journey to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where he reportedly asserted his willingness to denuclearize, as well as his desire for the security of his regime and compensation as part of the negotiation process.

When nuclear-armed North Korea put on a flower show a year ago to celebrate the birthday of its founder Kim Il Sung, scale model rockets were on display.

The change may be related to upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States, in which Kim has promised to hold talks about some form of denuclearization.