Pyongyang’s state-controlled KCNA reported Tuesday Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People’s Congress, was the guest of honor at an exclusive concert, where the North Korean leader was in attendance.
The performances were likely held to reinforce bilateral ties, according to South Korean press reports.
“Comrade Kim Jong Un arranged a welcome concert and a magnificent performance for Comrade Li Zhanshu and his delegation from the People’s Republic of China Party and government delegation,” KCNA stated.
North Korea’s state news agency went on to say the performance was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the nation’s founding and to welcome “honored guests from China” at the Mansudae Arts Theater.
South Korean news service Seoul Pyongyang News reported North Korea first lady Ri Sol Ju was in attendance, as was Li Jinjun, China’s ambassador to the North.
North Korea described the concert as a “special stage of performance.”
Last week Kim signaled a commitment to denuclearization, according to a South Korean delegation that returned from Pyongyang.
But the United States and North Korea could be interpreting the concept differently, according to U.S. analyst Robert Carlin.
In his analysis published Monday Carlin, a former intelligence officer at the CIA, said North Korea could be committing to a process of denuclearization, rather than a more terminally defined “complete, irreversible, verifiable” dismantlement of its nuclear weapons, the policy endorsed in Washington.
Kim has also said he is open to nuclear negotiations in 2017, even at the height of tensions, Carlin said on 38 North.