In this file photo, taken on June 21, 2019, and released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un take a walk at the Kumsusan State Guesthouse in Pyongyang. (Korean Central News Agency)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged efforts to "defend, consolidate and develop" relations with North Korea, Pyongyang's state media reported Friday, after the North's Kim Jong-un said he will push to elevate the two countries' ties to a "new strategic point."
Xi made the remarks in a reply to Kim's earlier letter to mark the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, touting the "message of fervent congratulations at an early hour" as a sign of "friendship" between the two countries, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"Under the new situation, the Chinese side, together with the DPRK side, will ... make positive contributions to ... achieving regional peace, stability, development and prosperity by successfully implementing the important common understanding reached by the two sides to successfully defend, consolidate and develop the China-DPRK relations," Xi said in the message on July 23.
DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Xi also expressed thanks to Kim for sending a message of sympathy over the deadly flooding that hit China's central province of Henan and other regions, KCNA said.
North Korea and China have emphasized their close relations amid stalemated nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, and an escalating Sino-US rivalry.
In the congratulatory letter to mark the centennial anniversary of the Chinese ruling party, Kim vowed to raise the Pyongyang-Beijing "friendship to a new strategic point as required by the times and as desired by the peoples of the two countries." (Yonhap)