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

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

The head of South Korea's presidential committee for economic cooperation with northern countries returned home Sunday from his three-day visit to China, where he promoted Seoul's vision of expanding ties with neighbors in the region. There were no posters of missiles or militarist slogans, which is believed to be connected with the upcoming talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week, as well as Kim's meeting with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for early June.

"It does not matter how the global situation changes".

On the occasion of the holiday, Kimilsungia festival of flowers was opened, with a specially bred species of orchids, named after Kim Il Sung, being a highlight.

Missiles and rockets "do not fit this year's theme" of the festival, Kim Ji Sung, a 24-year-old Japanese-speaking guide, told Kyodo News, calling the theme "Kimilsungias in full bloom with yearning for our leader". On April 8, around 600 foreigners participated in a Pyongyang marathon organized for the commemoration.

North Korean Kim Jong-un leader met a Chinese delegation accompanying an art troupe visiting Pyongyang, in the latest gesture of rapprochement between the two countries following years of tension, state media reported on Sunday. Kim is reported to have welcomed the delegation, saying he will mobilize relevant departments to provide the greatest hospitality.

According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday, Kim met Song Tao, head of the global liaison department at the Central Committee of the Communist Party, on Saturday.

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.

The art troupe performed on Saturday at the Mansudae Art Theatre, and the North Korean leader Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju watched a ballet "Giselle", performed by the National Ballet of China, but Kim was not present, the KCNA said.

Inter-Korean relations, meanwhile, have been improving since the North chose to take part in the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics hosted by the South.