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NK envoy highlights strong ties with China in banquet

North Korea's top envoy in China has hosted a banquet on the occasion of this week's anniversary of the country's founding, emphasizing Pyongyang's commitment to advancing its strong ties with China, the North's state media reported Sunday.

The banquet was held Thursday in Beijing with officials from the two countries, including North Korean Ambassador to China Ji Jae-ryong, and diplomats of other countries, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Ji emphasized the traditionally strong ties between North Korea and China, and the strengthening of the relations based on mutual trust and friendliness between its leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the KCNA said.

He also expressed Pyongyang's commitment to advancing the relations and working together to secure peace and stability both in the Northeast Asian region and the world, it added.

China and North Korea have been showing off their strong relations, particularly since Xi's trip to Pyongyang in June, which was the first visit by a Chinese head of state to North Korea in 14 years. North Korean leader Kim has visited China four times since March 2018.

Last week, China's Foreign Minster Wang Yi also visited Pyongyang, raising speculation that his trip was aimed at arranging another visit by Kim to Beijing.

North Korea is to celebrate its 71st anniversary of its founding Monday. A unification ministry official in Seoul earlier said that the North is expected to celebrate its founding anniversary this week on a scale similar to that of previous years, without holding a military parade. (Yonhap)