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North Korea Crisis

Kim and senior Chinese official agree to develop North Korea-China ties

PYONGYANG (Kyodo) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed with a senior official of the ruling Communist Party of China to develop relations between Pyongyang and Beijing further, state-run media reported Sunday.

"The Supreme Leader said that he would positively carry forward and develop the traditional DPRK-China friendship into a fresh phase of development," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Kim and Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held talks on Saturday, the news agency said.

Song arrived in Pyongyang on Friday leading a Chinese art troupe. The troupe is scheduled to participate in the April Spring Friendship Art Festival, a biennial event held to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung, which this year falls on Sunday.

Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed during their first-ever summit in Beijing in late March to promote cultural exchanges.

Last November, Song visited North Korea as Xi's special envoy, but neither country's state-run media reported Song meeting Kim, suggesting such a meeting did not happen. Song, however, greeted Kim when he arrived in the Chinese border city of Dandong last month.

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