North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI Hosts Party for Chinese Ambassador and Women's Volleyball Team

KJI (3rd L, 2nd Row) poses for a comemorative photograph with PRC Ambassador Liu Hongcai (2nd L, 2nd Row), PRC diplomatic personnel and the visiting Tianjin Women's Volleyball Team during a reception he hosted on Saturday (3 April) (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong-il hosted a dinner party in Pyongyang for the new Chinese Ambassador, the presumably partied-out Liu Hongcai, embassy staff and the Tianjin women’s volleyball team.    Two days of public events in Pyongyang finds KJI defying ROK media prognostications earlier this week of his imminent departure to China.  Yonhap reports:

“When Kim Jong-il appeared in the banquet hall together with the new Chinese ambassador, all the participants warmly welcomed him with highest tribute as he has made an undying contribution to boosting the DPRK-China friendship,” said the KCNA, monitored here. DPRK stands for the North’s official name.

Top intelligence officials in Seoul said early last week that the reclusive North Korean leader was expected to arrive in China before this weekend at the earliest for talks on resuming multilateral negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear programs.

The officials said that an advance team of North Korean officials may already be in China to arrange Kim’s trip there.

Xinhua also reported on the festivities:

The Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Secretary Kim Ki Nam said in his address the traditional DPRK-China friendship, which was fostered by the elder generations of the two countries’ leaders, had developed to new levels under the guidance of WPK General Secretary Kim Jong Il and Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao.

Liu said China wanted to make more effort with the DPRK side for continuous consolidation and development of the China-DPRK friendship and cooperation.

WPK Central Committee Secretary Choe Thae Bok, DPRK Foreign Affairs First Vice-Minister Kang Sok Ju and other major WPK and DPRK military officials were present at the party, at which the Chinese and DPRK sides sang national songs.

Before the party, Choe, Kim Ki Nam and Liu watched a friendly match between the Tianjin volleyball team and the 4.25 Women’s Volleyball Team of the DPRK.

Kim Jong-il was also joined by: NDC Member and Senior Deputy Director of the MPAF General Political Department, General Kim Jong-gak; Deputy Director of the NDC Standing Bureau, General Hyon Chol-hae; and director and commanding officer of the Military Security Command, General Kim Won-hong.

An affiliate of 38 North