Feb. 24 (UPI) -- North Korea says it is recruiting Chinese firms for its Spring International Trade Fair.
The South Korean agency for trade and investment promotion, KOTRA, said Pyongyang is actively seeking Chinese participants at the trade show to be held May 20-24, South Korean news service Seoul Pyongyang News reported Monday.
The call for firms was posted to a Chinese website specializing in expositions. According to the report, more than 600 North Korean government agencies, including the ministries of commerce and overseas economic relations, as well as North Korea's international trade promotion committee, are to participate; up to 80,000 people are expected to attend the fair.
North Korea-made items are to be promoted at the event, including "daily necessities," sports equipment, medicine, electronics, machinery and automobiles.
Pyongyang's spring fair was launched in 1988. Since 2005 the trade fair has been held twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.
The North Korean invitation to Chinese companies comes at a time when the two countries are enjoying close ties.
On Monday Kim Jong Un was traveling to Vietnam by train via a railroad that runs through China.
Yonhap and other news agencies reported Sunday the North Korean leader "passed through" the Chinese city of Tianjin.
A source in Beijing told Yonhap Kim's armored train was seen crossing Tianjin's Jiefang Bridge. The North Korean leader, who could cross the Chinese border into Vietnam by late Monday, is to arrive at Dong Dang Station, where he will then be escorted to Hanoi in a motorcade.
North Korea state media is stressing its close partnerships with traditional allies China and Russia.
KCNA reported Sunday North Korea "donated" North Korea-related books to libraries in China and Russia. The books included state-sanctioned volumes on North Korean history and culture, as well as works by leader Kim Jong Un and his predecessors, state media said.