March 25 (UPI) -- The North Korean Embassy in Beijing is displaying images from summits between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un for the first time in more than a year, according to a South Korean press report.
Yonhap reported Thursday the photos of landmark meetings between the two leaders are being displayed again after being taken down last year. The display case of photographs on the outside wall of the North Korean Embassy typically highlights North Korea's leaders.
North Korea shut its 880-mile border with China in late January in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Trade has declined and it is likely Pyongyang may need to turn to China for help amid the challenges, according to Yonhap's analysis.
The photos are from Kim's summit with Xi in January 2019, when the North Korean leader visited Beijing for his fourth meeting with Xi.
After talks with U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February of last year, the North Korean Embassy swapped out the photos with the Chinese leader in the display case with images from Kim's trip to Vietnam that included photos of Vietnam's president, according to the report.
The embassy then moved on to images of new buildings in Pyongyang, the three generations of North Korean leaders and images representing the state ideology of self-reliance, the report says.
Xi played a key role in 2019, relaying messages from Kim to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Xi told Moon in June that Kim is willing to denuclearize. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, North Korea moved away from engagement and warned of new weapons development.
North Korea has claimed there are zero cases of COVID-19 in the country. On Thursday, state media turned its attention to seed planting.
Pyongyang propaganda service Ryomyong said the planting of barley seeds has begun nationwide, including in the region closest to the capital.