SEOUL– North Korea’s state media reported in detail on a North Korean art troupe’s recent performance in Beijing on Thursday, highlighting the two countries’ friendship ahead of Pyongyang’s planned summit with the United States late next month.

The artists performed in Beijing from Saturday to Monday and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended Sunday’s show. The delegation led by Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the ruling party’s Central Committee, headed home Wednesday after a weeklong stay there.

“The art delegation achieved a rich success under the special care of the supreme leaders of the two parties and the two countries of the DPRK and China,” the Korean Central News Agency said in an article.

DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Xi was quoted as saying that the performance is a “cultural exchange for the implementation of an important shared understanding” between the two countries and an “important activity” to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

Ri, who led the delegation, was quoted as saying that the art troupe’s performances are intended to move forward North Korea-China friendship and add a “brilliant page” to their bilateral relations.

The Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North’s ruling party, also devoted its front and second pages to articles and photos on the Beijing performances.

The art troupe’s trip to Beijing marked the first of its kind in about three years since the all-female Moranbong Band called off a planned performance in Beijing at the last minute in 2015 in protest as China reportedly took issue with content featuring the North’s missile and nuclear programs.

Earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his fourth visit to China in less than a year and held talks with Xi in an apparent show of strengthening their bilateral relations ahead of his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim and Trump are expected to meet for their second summit in late February.

Source: Yonhap news Agency