North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stressed the strategic importance of the relationship with China for his country.
Sending a greeting to mark the centenary of the founding of China’s Communist Party on Thursday, Kim emphasized the “firm faith in the justice of the socialist and communist cause” that united the two countries.
North Korea and China would “accelerate their advance toward a brighter future, tiding over difficulties and ordeals by dint of their militant friendship and bonds of kinship,” North Korea’s leader was quoted as saying by state media.
Kim also defended the Communist Party of China (CPC) against pressure from abroad, noting that “hostile forces’ vicious slander and all-round pressure upon the CPC are no more than a last-ditch attempt and they can never check the on-going advance of the Chinese people, rallied close around General Secretary Xi Jinping, toward a fresh victory.”
Observers interpreted the message as directed at strained US-China relations.
China is the most important ally of internationally isolated North Korea, with the neighbouring country accounting for over 90 per cent of its trade.
A 1961 pact on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance is considered the foundation of relations. However, North Korea has also repeatedly tested Beijing in recent years with its own nuclear tests.
The UN Security Council’s sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang because of the tests were also supported by the veto power China.