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Kim Jong Un, China’s Zhao Leji seek enhanced cooperation

Kim Jong Un, China’s Zhao Leji seek enhanced cooperation

Posted April. 15, 2024 08:09,   

Updated April. 15, 2024 08:09


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un talked with Zhao Leji, the current chairman of China’s Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, about boosting bilateral relations and cooperation. He accompanied China’s third-highest official even at his last luncheon as part of his three-day visit to Pyongyang, only exhibiting his intent on strategically solidifying their relationship. It is also presumed that they talked about preparations for Kim to visit China over lunchtime. With Pyongyang and Moscow getting closer after their summit talk last year, China has seemingly distanced itself from the North Korean regime. Faced with growing conflicts with Washington, it is reaching out to Pyongyang.

Kim met Zhao at the headquarters of the party's central committee on Saturday, saying, "This visit by China's party leaders and government officials has considerable significance for demonstrating the invincibility of our friendship and taking our close and cooperative relationship to a level that can meet the demand of this time,” wrote North Korea's official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday. The news report stated that the two leaders talked candidly about their mutual concerns and issues to diversify and expand their level of cooperation and upgrade their friendship to stronger ties.

North Korean and Chinese news reports said that Kim made a toast for the longevity and good health of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the luncheon party with Chairman Zhao. China's state-owned CCTV released a video of the two leaders hugging as many as three times to demonstrate their close relationship. The footage also showed gifts delivered by the Chinese delegation including a sculpture of eight running horses and boxes of 30-year-old Maotai, nicknamed the national liquor of China.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com