PYONGYANG, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Pyongyang, capital of Democratic People's Republic of Korea, looks festive with spring flowers in full bloom and cultural performances by artists from home and abroad.
An over 200-member visiting troupe from China has got a red-carpet treatment, including praise from DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un.
There were large banners greeting them at the entrance of the East Pyongyang Grand Theater, where they performed "The Red Detachment of Women", a classic ballet first staged in China in 1964.
The drama about the women soldiers of the Chinese Red Army in the 1930s was performed on Sunday and Monday. At the end of the performance on Monday, Kim went up onto the stage to congratulate the artists on their performance, amid a thunder of applause.
Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and his wife Ri Sol Ju watch the ballet "The Red Detachment of Women" performed by a visiting Chinese art troupe in Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, April 16, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Kim asked Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, who was leading the troupe, to convey his thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping for sending the artists to his art-loving country.
On Saturday, the troupe performed the French classic ballet "Giselle" at the exclusive Juche Music Art Development Theater in central Pyongyang.
Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju watched both "Giselle" and "The Red Detachment of Women," saying she was deeply impressed.
The troupe, consisting mainly of dancers from the China Central Ballet Troupe and musicians from the Philharmonic Orchestra, also appeared at the 31st April Spring International Friendship Festival, which runs through April 10-18, to commemorate the DPRK's founding president Kim Il Sung.
The Chinese artists were warmly welcomed with performances by DPRK art students and children when they visited the Central Music Conservatory and the biggest Children's Palace -- children's activity center -- in the country.
Dancers of a Chinese art troupe perform the ballet "The Red Detachment of Women" in Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, April 16, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Feng Ying, head of China Central Ballet Troupe and a renowned ballerina, said although this was her first visit to the DPRK, she felt at home.
"I grew up in (China's northeastern) Jilin Province bordering the DPRK. I know a little Korean dance and I'm thus familiar with the Korean culture. It is a great pride to be a cultural and art envoy here," she said.
Zhang Jian, another top ballerina, played the heroine in "The Red Detachment of Women" on Monday, days after she had performed in the "Swan Lake" for Kim in Beijing during his March visit to China.
Zhang said she was deeply moved by the warm reception given by the DPRK people.
Members of the Chinese art troupe perform a ballet in Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), April 14, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Liu Ju recalled his mother visiting the DPRK in 1975. She played the erhu, the two-stringed, fiddle-like traditional Chinese musical instrument.
"My mother was received by President Kim Il Sung, who fully enjoyed her performances. She told me the story many times when I was a young boy," Liu said.
Kim also met Song at the headquarters of the ruling Workers's Party of Korea Central Committee on Saturday, pledging to jointly write a new chapter of DPRK-China friendship.