North Korea’s Moranbong Band has been busy since returning to Pyongyang, and have released new songs praising the North Korean leadership. File Photo by Yonhap
SEOUL, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un dispatched special envoys to Beijing as a symbolic apology for the abrupt departure of North Korea's all-female Moranbong Band on Dec. 12, raising the possibility of a Kim visit to China in 2016.
A source familiar with China-North Korea relations told Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai the envoys were recently sent to the Chinese capital to apologize on behalf of the North Korean leader.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said North Korea plans to send the Moranbong Band back to China, most likely before the Seventh Congress of the Korean Workers' Party in May 2016.
The rare meeting of Pyongyang's communist party has not convened since 1980, and is likely to focus on landmark decisions on economic policy, as was the case during every decade of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung's regime.
Japan press reported Pyongyang wants to improve the atmosphere of bilateral relations with China, and pave the way for an eventual summit between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But China did not include Kim Jong Un in its recent missive to Pyongyang, sent on the fourth death anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il.
Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had said China "holds Comrade Kim Jong Il in the highest regard, for making significant contributions to China-North Korea relations," but omitted any mention of Kim Jong Un.
North Korea's Moranbong Band has been busy since returning to Pyongyang, South Korean television network KBS reported.
Pyongyang released footage of new songs performed by the all-female band members, praising the former Kim Jong Il and the current leader.
The music was accompanied by video footage of North Korea's Future Scientists' Street or Complex in Pyongyang, and images of Kim Jong Un providing field guidance to North Korea's military.