N. Korea’s Kim meets senior Chinese envoy


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met Chinese senior diplomat Song Tao and feted a Chinese art troupe led by Song, saying the North Korean state media show closer ties to China after Kim's surprise visit to Beijing last month.

The North Korean leader Saturday "warm" met Song Tao and the Chinese delegation visits Pyongyang to perform and also sent his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping after Song conveyed Xi's greetings to Kim, said the north's official Korea Central News Agency.

"He said with deep sentiment that the Chinese comrades warmly gave him hospitality to him with the utmost sincerity in a sign of warm comradeship during his most recent unforgettable visit to China," said KCNA Sunday.

In late March, Kim made a rare visit to Beijing and met Xi, Kim's first known trip abroad since he took power in 2011.

Film broadcast on Chinese television on Sunday evening, Kim greeted Song with one warm hu g and couple later dining in a big hall adorned with a huge picture of Kim and Xi together last month.

Song told Kim that he intended to visit to help promote the two-way consensus in the development of this "new phase" of bilateral relations and in helping to protect peace and stability on it Korean peninsula, according to the TV report.

The Chinese art group, led by Song, the leader of the Communist Party's international department, left North Korea Friday to an April spring art festival.

The troop performed Saturday at Mansudae Art Theater, and Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju looked at the ballet Giselle performed by the National Ballet of China, but Kim was not present, KCNA said.

North Korea's ties with China, the only ally, had been strained over the last few years over the Nordic controversial missile and nuclear tests.

Song and Kim also exchanged their views on elaborate bi-lateral relationships, KCNA said with Kim that he would develop their friendship for a "fresh development phase".



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