Senior Chinese official to visit North Korea with art troupe

Senior Chinese official to visit North Korea with art troupe

Mongolia has also been floated as a possible location of the summit, which would follow a first meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In slated for April 27 at the truce village of Panmunjeom.

Both sides have since sought to improve ties, with North Korea's Kim Jong Un meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping last month in Beijing - the young leader's first known official trip overseas.

Song Tao, the head of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's worldwide department, will lead the mission.

The delegation is China's first to the DPRK since a summit between Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping in late March in Beijing: a meeting with saw the Chinese President accept an invitation to visit Pyongyang.

"The art troupe's visit is part of efforts to implement agreements reached at the Kim-Xi summit".

The SPA, the country's highest legislative organ, is in charge of endorsing decisions made by the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

The organizer of a tour to the festival previously told NK News that around 500 performers from around the world would be in attendance.

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Song last visited the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in November to discuss the outcome of China's 19th Communist Party Congress.

Though it is unclear whether Song will this week meet with Kim Jong Un, the two met several times during last month's surprise visit by the DPRK leader to China.

The state media, however, did not put Kim on the list of the meeting's attendees, among which were Kim Yong-nam, President of the SPA Presidium, and Choe Ryong-hae, the number-two leader of Pyongyang. However, Kim briefed top ruling party officials Monday, giving them his "profound analysis and appraisal" of prospects for future dialogue with the United States, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. He gave no details about any officials Song would meet.

"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". "It seems that the North-China relations are fast normalizing", said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

"First, it wants to become a central player, since it was somewhat marginalized by the events of the recent three or four months", Andrei Lankov, director of the Korea Risk Group - which owns and operates NK News - said.

That raised concerns about the North's sincerity in holding what would be its first-ever summit with a sitting US president.

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