Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a rare concert by a North Korean state art troupe and met with the delegation’s chief, Chinese state media reported Monday, as the two countries boast close ties ahead of a second summit between the United States and North Korea.
Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, met with Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s Central Committee, on Sunday and watched the performance by the North Korean artists, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency.
The art delegation arrived in Beijing on Thursday to stage the first performance by a North Korean art troupe in the neighboring country in three years since the North’s Moranbong Band called off a planned performance in Beijing at the last minute in 2015.
The dispatch came a few weeks after the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, made his fourth visit to China in less than a year and held talks with Xi in an apparent show of strengthening relations between the two countries in the runup to a second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump set for late next month.
During his meeting with Ri, Xi said the art group’s performance is an important event that celebrates the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between Beijing and Pyongyang, Xinhua said.
Xi also said he and Kim have agreed to further strengthen their ties during their four meetings, and China stands ready to work with the North to implement the “important consensus reached by the two sides, so as to better benefit the two peoples and contribute to world peace, stability, development and prosperity,” according to Xinhua.
Ri expressed his gratitude to Xi for showing interest in the North Korean art troupe’s performance, saying the visit and art performance represented leader “Kim’s deep feelings to Xi and the DPRK people’s profound friendship with the Chinese people,” Xinhua said. (Yonhap)