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N. Korea expresses hope for closer ties with China

North Korea has expressed its hope for friendlier relations with China, its major ally and patron, in a letter sent to mark the neighboring country's congress to usher in a new leadership, the North's state media said Thursday.

"We will as ever join the Chinese comrades in making positive efforts to put the traditional DPRK-China friendship, the common wealth of the two peoples, on a higher stage," the Workers' Party of (North) Korea was quoted by its Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying in its congratulatory message sent to the Communist Party of China a day earlier.

The North also noted that the North Korean party "sincerely wishes the 18th National Congress satisfactory success" in promoting prosperity of the Chinese nation and strengthening the party, according to KCNA.

"We are rejoiced over the achievements made in China and firmly convinced that the fraternal Chinese people will continue registering good successes in the future, too," the North's party was also quoted as saying.

On Thursday, China opened a weeklong congress in which President Hu Jintao will relinquish his power to appointed heir and current vice president Xi Jinping. It is widely believed the new Chinese leadership will further strengthen economic ties with the North. (Yonhap News)

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