North Korea, China leaders vow to strengthen ties

North Korea, China leaders vow to strengthen ties
Image Source: AP

North Korea, China leaders vow to strengthen ties

North Korean and Chinese leaders on Sunday expressed their desire to further strengthen their ties as they exchanged messages marking the 60th anniversary of their countries’ defense treaty.

In a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said it was his government’s “fixed stance” to “continue to develop friendly and cooperative relations” between the countries, the official Korean Central News Agency said. .

Xi said in his message that “he stands ready to bring more pleasure to both countries by strengthening strategic communication with (Kim) and properly controlling the direction of progress of China-(North Korea) relations.” Taking the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries to a new stage,” KCNA said.

North Korea is expected to receive more support from China, its key ally and aid donor, as it grapples with economic hardship triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and US-led sanctions on its nuclear weapons program. Some experts say China, for its part, sees the North Korean collapse as vital to its security interests and will need to boost ties with North Korea and other traditional allies amid fierce rivalry with the United States. .

Kim said in his message that the bilateral treaty “is displaying its strong vitality in defending and promoting the socialist cause of both countries … now that the hostile forces have become more desperate in their challenge and obstructive measures.”

Under the 1961 treaty, North Korea and China commit to providing immediate military and other assistance to each other in the event of an attack.

North Korea–China relations go back to the 1930s, when Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, led Korean guerrillas as they fought alongside Chinese troops against Japanese colonists in northeastern China. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1949, a year before North Korea launched a surprise attack on South Korea and began a three-year war that killed hundreds of thousands.

China fought with North Korea during the 1950–53 Korean War, while US-led United Nations forces supported South Korea. About 28,500 US troops are still stationed in South Korea to prevent a possible North Korean invasion. China does not deploy troops to North Korea.

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