UPDATE : 2018.5.20 SUN 13:34
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N. Korea's party officials visiting China amid thawing relations

A group of North Korea's ruling party officials is visiting China, the North's state media said Tuesday, amid signs of thawing relations between the two countries following recent summits between their leaders.

"A friendship visiting group of the Workers' Party of Korea led by Pak Thae-song, member of the Political Bureau and vice chairman of its Central Committee, left here Monday to visit the People's Republic of China," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The KCNA did not provide information on the nature and purpose of the trip and details on who was included in the delegation.

It has been said that the delegation includes Ryu Myong-son, department director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), and Kim Nung-o, head of the party's North Pyongan Central Committee.

They were seen arriving at a Beijing airport earlier Monday and getting into vehicles prepared for them by China before leaving for the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

Later in the day, they were said to have visited the Zhongguancun High-tech Zone, known as China's Silicon Valley, and a region that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited in March.

Their trip came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian last week and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It was the second meeting of its kind following Kim's surprise March visit to Beijing.

Observers said the North Koreans might be visiting China to tour major industrial areas and to explore ways to deepen economic cooperation going forward.

Ties between North Korea and China are showing signs of improvement after going through a tough patch for years caused by the North's defiant advancement of its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korean leader Kim is set to hold an unprecedented summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12, with denuclearization likely to top the agenda. The meeting follows his historic inter-Korean summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month. (yonhap)

Won Hwi  edt@koreapost.com

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