PYONGYANG, June 20 (Xinhua) -- General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Thursday for a state visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The DPRK visit, Xi's first as CPC chief and Chinese head of state and also the first of its kind in 14 years, came as the two neighboring countries are celebrating the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.
Xi's plane arrived at the Sunan International Airport around noon. Bathed in sunshine shortly after rain, the DPRK capital was brimming with a friendly atmosphere.
Under Chinese and DPRK national flags and large welcome banners, nearly 10,000 people lined up at the airport, waving flowers and chanting cheerful slogans to welcome the Chinese guests.
Amid thunderous cheers, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, walked out of the cabin, and were greeted by Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.
Following a grand welcome ceremony complete with a 21-gun salute, Xi headed to the square of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where he became the first foreign leader to receive a salute at the highly symbolic site.
Hundreds of thousands of people lined up all along the way from the airport, waving flags and flowers and chanting "Long Live the China-DPRK Friendship" and other slogans to show their welcome.
In a signed article published Wednesday in the DPRK's mainstream media, Xi said he stands ready to work with Kim to chart the future course of China-DPRK relations and open a new chapter for the two countries' traditional friendship.