North Korea holds key parliamentary meeting without Kim Jong

No reward for N. Korea without irreversible denuclearization

The delegation led by Song, the head of the Communist Party's International Department, will leave for North Korea on Friday for an April Spring Friendship Art Festival, the state-run Xinhua news agency said without providing other details.

North Korea has told the United States it is prepared to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula when Mr Kim meets Mr Trump, a U.S. official told Reuters on Sunday.

No reward for N. Korea without irreversible denuclearization

"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.

The festival, which takes place every two years, is slated to be held between April 11 and 17 in Pyongyang on the occasion of the Day of the Sun - a yearly holiday celebrating the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founding President Kim Il Sung.

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Song last visited the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in November to discuss the outcome of China's 19th Communist Party Congress. It was also held on April 11th a year ago.

Kim's trip to China marked a turnaround in the long-frayed ties between Pyongyang and Beijing over the North's nuclear and missile tests.

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"I think there'll be great respect paid by both parties". Instead, the session focused on North Korea's budget and changes in leadership personnel.

Kim Jong Un's attendance is not mandatory, although in previous occasions he has made speeches at the events.

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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. "It seems that the North-China relations are fast normalizing", said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

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