Xi to Visit N.Korea in June

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Xi to Visit N.Korea in June

"Ri is expected to have tea time with (South Korean) first lady Kim Jung-sook and attend a luncheon or state dinner hosted by President Moon Jae-in, alongside Kim Jong-un (on the visit)" said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, according to The Korea Herald.

Song Tao, the head of the Chinese Communist Party's International Department, was in North Korea this weekend, leading a performing arts troupe to a North Korean festival.

The festival is a biennial event held to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder and grandfather of the current leader.

Kim "expressed expectation that the Pyongyang visit by the Chinese art troupe would serve as a significant occasion in carrying forward and further consolidating the tradition of the DPRK-China friendship", KCNA reported.

After the show, Kim and Ri met the Chinese performers, "congratulated them on their successful performance", and took a group photograph.

Past festivals also featured various cultural and economic displays, but the absence of military overtones this year was more in line with a message of reconciliation that Kim has sought to cultivate in recent months as he made his first visit to neighbouring China and announced plans to talk with the leaders of South Korea and the United States.

Already China is weakening sanctions against its ally.

Pyongyang and Beijing have been aiming to strengthen their decades-long ties ahead of the back-to-back summits.

Song held a meeting with the DPRK leader on Saturday, with KCNA reporting that both exchanged "profound views on the important matters of mutual concern" as well as the worldwide situation.

Radio Free Asia on Sunday said Chinese-North Korean joint venture projects are quickly resuming.

President Xi Jinping last week struck a conciliatory note on trade, promising to cut tariffs on cars - a key point of USA anger - and other imports, as well as further open up the economy, which drew a warm response from Mr Trump. He will be the first North Korean leader to step on South Korean soil since the 1950s.

The defector told the US -funded broadcaster the previous day that the Chinese government freed them as it is concerned about criticism in the global community that Beijing deports North Korean defectors back to their home country, where they face severe punishment.

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