N. Korea, China agree to strengthen volleyball exchange

December 22, 2015

BEIJING (Yonhap) — North Korea and China have agreed to strengthen volleyball exchanges between each other, Chinese news website sina.com reported on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached between North Korea’s Vice Sports Minister Son Kwang-ho and Liu Wenbin, deputy director of the China Volleyball Association, on Monday.

Son and Liu agreed that the “China-North Korea volleyball exchange will help consolidate and develop the traditional friendship between China and North Korea,” according to the Chinese news report.

The talks were seen as the latest sign that the allies are pushing ahead with exchanges despite the canceled concerts by an all-female North Korean band formed by leader Kim Jong-un.

Son, who is visiting Beijing this week, signed an accord on sports exchanges with China for next year on Sunday, the General Administration of Sports of China said in a statement posted on its website.

North Korea’s Moranbong Band had been scheduled to perform in Beijing on Dec. 12, in what was viewed as a fresh sign that political ties between the allies were on the mend after years of strain over the North’s nuclear ambitions.

But, the band abruptly headed home hours before the concerts began. China’s official Xinhua News Agency attributed the cancellation to unspecified “communication issues.”

China remained tightlipped over the reason of the cancellation, and North Korea has also made no official comments.