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China sets October date for annual trade fair with N. Korea

All News 15:43 June 10, 2016

SHENYANG, China, June 10 (Yonhap) -- An annual trade fair between North Korea and China will kick off in the Chinese border city of Dandong in October, Chinese organizers said Friday, amid signs that Beijing and Pyongyang are trying to mend fences despite the North's nuclear ambitions.

This year's North Korea-China Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo, which will be the fifth of its kind, will begin its four-day run on Oct. 15, the Dandong city's China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) said in a statement posted on its website.

It did not elaborate further, including how many firms will take part in the trade fair.

China, North Korea's diplomatic and economic lifeline, supported tougher U.N. sanctions earlier this year following the North's fourth nuclear test in January.

In a surprise diplomatic overture, North Korea sent a delegation of high-ranking officials to Beijing late last month.

On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping met the North Korean delegation, led by Ri Su-yong, a vice chairman of the North's ruling Workers' Party, in an apparent attempt to fix political ties despite Pyongyang's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The date for the annual trade fair between North Korea and China was announced a week after Dandong abruptly delayed another trade fair with South Korea, which had been scheduled to begin this week.

According to South Korean firms who had planned to participate, Dandong officials cited a lack of electricity generation capacity and malfunctions in fire protection facilities as reasons for the delay.

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