President Xi Jinping’s 习近平 envoy, International Department of the Central Committee director Song Tao 宋涛 will visit North Korea and give a briefing on the 19th Party Congress on 17 Nov 2017, reports Xinhua. Earlier in November, Song visited Laos and Vietnam with the same mission.

A Central Committee member since the Congress, Song has been the director of his department since November 2015. The International Department has developed various relations with more than 600 parties and organisations from more than 160 nations and regions. Engaging in both dialogue and research while connecting with parties both in and out of power in their countries, the Department facilitates CCP agendas while acting as a voice of CCP.

Born in 1955, Song joined the first class of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) diplomat trainee program in 2000. His fellow classmates included the current Chinese Ambassador to North Korea, Li Jinjun 李进军. Before 2000, he served as county-level deputy party chief and deputy manager of a state firm in Fujian. From 2001–08, he was appointed assistant to the Chinese ambassador to India, ambassador to Guyana, a MFA department chief, and ambassador to the Philippines. He was made the disciplinary head of MFA in 2008 and deputy minister in 2011. Appointed Central Foreign Affairs Office (CFAO) deputy director in 2013, he became the office’s executive deputy director within a year. CFAO manages the logistics of the Central Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group headed by president Xi. Right before his 2015 promotion, Song accompanied Politburo Standing Committee Liu Yunshan 刘云山 to North Korea in October 2015.