N. Korea invites Chinese delegation as 1st known foreign guests since pandemic

North Korea said Monday it has invited a Chinese party and government delegation as part of commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War, marking the first known invitation of official foreign guests since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the Chinese delegation led by Li Hongzhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, will visit the country to take part in celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the “victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War,” a reference to the day the Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.

The visit will come at the invitation of the Central Committee of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party and its government, the KCNA said.

This is the first known case of North Korea inviting foreign guests to the country since it closed all borders to contain the pandemic, though cargo transportation partially resumed between North Korea and China last year.

The country is expected to hold large-scale celebrations, including a military parade, to mark the anniversary, but Li’s rank is lower than that of Li Zhanshu, China’s top legislator and chief of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, who visited North Korea in 2018 for the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the communist state.

Source: Yonhap News Agency