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Chinese athletes visit North Korea in latest sign of thaw in ties

/ 10:06 AM October 09, 2018

The Chinese sports delegation arrives at the airport Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

PYONGYANG, North Korea — A large group of Chinese athletes and sports officials arrived in North Korea on Monday in the latest sign of a thaw in relations between the two countries this year.

The Chinese group is led by Gou Zhongwen, the director of China’s General Administration of Sports. He was greeted at Pyongyang’s airport by North Korea’s minister of sports, Kim Il Guk.

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China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the Chinese delegation includes men’s and women’s basketball teams. They are expected to take part in friendly matches with North Korean teams this week.

After a period of frosty ties, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited China three times this year, and traditional proclamations of friendship between the two neighbors have been resurrected.

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Speculation continues over whether Xi Jinping will make a visit to North Korea.

The Chinese delegation’s visit comes just after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang and met with Kim to discuss a possible second summit with President Donald Trump.

Pompeo said he had good talks with Kim toward restarting their bumpy denuclearization negotiations. He has not announced when or where the second U.S.-North Korea summit might take place.

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TAGS: China, Kim Jong Un, North Korea, Sports
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