China to send art troupe to North Korea festival


Beijing :China will send a Communist Party official with an art troupe to North Korea for a festival celebrating the country’s founder, state media said Wednesday, as the neighbours seek to heal battered relations. The delegation will leave on Friday to attend the April Spring Friendship Art Festival at the invitation of North Korea’s Workers’ Party, China’s official Xinhua news agency said in a brief report. Song Tao, the head of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s international department, will lead the mission. Song had visited Pyongyang late last year to brief officials about the party’s October congress. 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. Both North Korean and foreign artists take part, and this year’s week-long event includes concerts, dance performances and acrobatics. China has sent art troupes to every festival since 1986, except in 2016. Beijing is North Korea’s sole major ally, an alliance dating back to the 1950-1953 Korean War, but relations deteriorated after China backed United Nations sanctions to punish Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons programme.

Orignally published by APP

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