Kim Jong-un meets top Chinese official, calls for strengthening ties

The asiatic toads often go ashore after rain when the air is humid and the temperature is low

This picture taken on April 14, 2018 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 15 shows North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L), shaking hands with Song Tao (R), head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China, leading a Chinese art troupe, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The two exchanged "profound views on the important matters of mutual concern" and the global situation, KCNA said, without providing details.

The two countries' relations had been icy since China complied with global sanctions against trade with North Korea a year ago in response to nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The video also shows Ri meeting Song Tao, the chief of the worldwide department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

Song arrived in Pyongyang last Friday to lead a Chinese art troupe performing in the North's April Spring Friendship Art Festival.

"First Lady Ri Sol Ju enjoyed a ballet choreodrama "Giselle" given by the National Ballet of China", KCNA reported, adding she held "friendly talk" with the guests ahead of the performance.

China is willing to work with the DPRK to implement the important consensus reached between the top leaders of the two parties and jointly contribute to promoting the development of bilateral relations in the new era, improving the welfare of the two peoples and safeguarding peace on the Korean Peninsula, Song said.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Chinese senior diplomat Song Tao, and feted a Chinese art troupe led by Song, North Korean state media said today, indicating closer ties with China following Kim's surprise visit to Beijing last month. In attendance were China's ambassador to North Korea, Li Jinjun, and other diplomats from the embassy, as well as Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's younger sister and first vice director of the Workers' Party's Central Committee, and other top-ranking North Korean officials.

"He said with deep emotion that the Chinese comrades accorded cordial hospitality to him with utmost sincerity in token of warm comradely friendship during his recent unforgettable visit to China", the KCNA said.

More high-level exchanges and cooperation will follow between Beijing and Pyongyang, the report cited Kim as saying.

China is North Korea's strongest economic and military ally, but their relationship cooled after Beijing joined sanctions past year.

That contrasts with Song's last visit to Pyongyang last November, when he was sent as Xi's special envoy to discuss the outcome of China's 19th Party Congress. Song returned to Beijing without meeting Kim.

The change may be related to upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States, in which Kim has promised to hold talks about some form of denuclearization.

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