SEOUL — Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted growing ties with North Korea since the coronavirus outbreak in a congratulatory message sent to leader Kim Jong-un on the occasion of the North’s founding anniversary, according to state media Wednesday.
North Korea marks the 72nd anniversary of its state founding Wednesday as it has been intensifying efforts to strengthen ties with China during the global coronavirus pandemic amid stalemated nuclear talks with Washington.
Pyongyang has frequently praised Beijing’s success in stemming the spread of the virus since it first broke out in China last December.
“After the outbreak of COVID-19, the two countries have supported and helped each other, further developing the China-DPRK friendship,” Xi said in a message carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Xi added that he gives “high priority to the development of China-DPRK relations and have a willingness to propel the traditional China-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.”
DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent a congratulatory message to Kim, stressing the close ties between the two countries, the KCNA said.
Putin also said the relations between the two countries have been of “friendly and good-neighborly nature traditionally” and the “constructive bilateral dialogue and beneficial cooperation” are in the interests of the two countries and contribute to promoting security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, it added.