Pyongyang, April 17 (IANS) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed his desire to strengthen ties with China during a ballet performance by a Chinese troupe here, state-run news agency KCNA reported on Tuesday.
On Monday, Kim, along with his wife Ri Sol-ju, watched the Chinese artistes perform “Red Women Company”, reports Efe news agency.
After the performance, the couple met the troupe and Kim expressed hope the visit “would serve as a significant occasion in carrying forward and further consolidating the traditional DPRK-China friendship”.
The visiting Chinese troupe will participate in a festival as part of cultural exchanges between the two countries.
China and North Korea’s relations had been strained until Kim travelled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in March.
The visit came before the planned summits between North Korea and South Korea and the US. It also marked Kim’s first trip abroad and the first meeting with a foreign president since he came to power in 2011.
The delegation of artistes, headed by the director of international relations of the Communist Party of China, Song Tao, arrived in Pyongyang last week, KCNA reported.
Song watched the performance along with North Korean politburo’s members, such as the regime’s number two, Choe Ryong-hae.
Kim and Song spoke in a friendly way and the Chinese emissary said Xi attached great importance to the joint agreement in cultural matters with North Korea and conveyed his will to deepen exchanges in this and other fields.
Beijing’s support for UN sanctions against Pyongyang in the wake of its nuclear and ballistic missile tests had worsened the bilateral relation between the two allies in the recent years.