July 9 (UPI) -- North Korean officials have been visiting traditional partner countries and receiving foreign guests in Pyongyang, according to state media.
Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Tuesday a North Korean delegation led by Pak Kum Hui, a vice chair of the Supreme People's Assembly, returned to Pyongyang on Monday from Russia.
Pak and the North Koreans had attended an "international forum" on the "development of the parliamentary system." At Pyongyang airport, Pak was welcomed back by the interim Russian ambassador to North Korea, state media said.
North Korea's Red Cross Society returned from a trip to Mongolia on the same day, Monday, according to the Rodong.
Paek Yong Ho, the chairman of the executive committee of Pyongyang's Red Cross Society, had attended a meeting of the East Asia regional office of the Red Cross in Mongolia, where he observed the 80th anniversary of the Mongolian Red Cross.
Mongolia has played the role of mediator in North Korea in recent years, providing a meeting place for Japanese and North Korean officials to negotiate the issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped to the North.
North Korea media also said the director-general of the regime's tourism bureau, Jo Song Gol, returned from a trip to Cuba on Saturday. Pyongyang did not state the purpose of Jo's trip to the Caribbean.
Incoming guests to North Korea included a delegation from the Mexican Labor Party, led by Renata Libertad Avila Valadez. State media published footage and photographs of the group's arrival at Sunan Airport. The group may have been visiting to observe the 25th death anniversary of Kim Il Sung.
North Koreans on official trips are permitted to leave the country, but the regime strictly bans ordinary citizens from migrating for better economic opportunities.
The ban has not stopped a continuous inflow of North Korean refugees to the South.
To meet their needs, Seoul has been increasing the budget for refugee support, South Korean news service Newsis reported Tuesday.
The budget has increased from about $326,000 in 2015 to $440,000 in 2019, Seoul's unification ministry said.