Senior Chinese diplomat, "large-scale" art troupe headed to North Korea: KCNA

North Korean Parliament Meets Rubber Stamp Kim Jong Un's Policies but President Absent

North Korean President Kim Jong Un

Song Tao, who serves as head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the art troupe will participate in the 31st April Spring Friendship Art Festival (ASFAF).

North Korea will convene its parliament in Pyongyang on Wednesday, exactly 6 years after Kim Jong Un officially became the country's top leader.

For decades, North Korea has dangled the prospect of "denuclearization" - freezing its nuclear weapons programs - but only if the U.S. withdraws its forces from South Korea.

"The art troupe's visit is part of efforts to implement agreements reached at the Kim-Xi summit".

The KCNA report said Kim outlined "strategic and tactical issues" for the Workers' Party, as well as the "future policy of global relations".

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), carried the report on the front page of Wednesday's edition.

Song visited Pyongyang in November previous year as a special envoy of Xi, but he could not meet with Kim Jong-un.

Of last year's budget, 15.8 percent went to bolster the North's military defences while 47.7 percent was used to boost the economy, it added.

Kim Jong Un's attendance is not mandatory, although in previous occasions he has made speeches at the events. For China, the Xi-Kim summit apparently helped highlight Beijing's leverage over the North in resolving the North's nuclear standoff.

Ri reportedly expressed his hope "that the DPRK will maintain close strategic communication with China on relevant issues of the Korean Peninsula", the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reported.

That raised concerns about the North's sincerity in holding what would be its first-ever summit with a sitting US president.

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