NKorea parliament to convene to approve national agenda

NKorea parliament to convene to approve national agenda

NKorea parliament to convene to approve national agenda

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first publicly reported comments about talks with the United States as plans move forward for a summit expected to be held within weeks.

The trip will "consolidate the cornerstone of the DPRK-China cultural exchange and strengthening the traditional DPRK-China friendly relations onto a new high stage", the KCNA said, referring to the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The report said that a large-scale art group will make the first visit to the North after Kim and Xi recently agreed to strengthen cultural exchanges.

The festival is held in Pyongyang as part of the commemorations for the anniversary of the birth of the North's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, 1912.

"The move appears meant to strengthen cultural exchanges following the North-China summit", Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman at Seoul's unification ministry, told a press briefing.

Kim spoke at a meeting of the politburo of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, which approved a budget for the year that's to be presented to parliament, due to convene Wednesday, KCNA said.

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Seoul, Baik added, "will watch with interest whether it will lead to a performance in China by North Korean artists that was cancelled in December 2015".

For years China was North Korea's sole major ally, but their relations have become strained over the past couple of years over Pyongyang's relentless testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear devices. It was his first overseas trip since he took office in late 2011.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he planned to meet Kim next month or in early June and hoped the discussions would ultimately lead to an end of the North's nuclear weapons programme.

Song was reported to have greeted Kim at the train station, participated in the DPRK-China summit, and attended the subsequent banquet hosted by Xi, according to KCNA reports.

Song Tao visited the DPRK in November previous year as a special envoy of President Xi with the goal of debriefing North Korean officials on the 19th National Congress of the CPC.

One North Korean expert said the visit was a sign that China's diplomacy on Pyongyang is "getting more active" and suggests it is now rooted in two primary goals.

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