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Sat. May 18th, 2024

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China’s high-ranking official Zhao Leji have lauded the commencement of a “new chapter” in the relations between Beijing and Pyongyang. This meeting, among the most prominent between the two allies in recent years, underscores the enduring ties between the two nations as they commemorate 75 years of diplomatic engagement.

Zhao Leji, a member of the powerful Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, embarked on a goodwill visit to North Korea, reaffirming China’s pivotal role as Pyongyang’s foremost economic supporter and diplomatic ally. Despite international pressure, notably from the US and its allies, China has consistently shielded North Korea from stricter sanctions at the UN Security Council, aligning with Russia in this regard.

During the visit, Zhao engaged in discussions with Kim Jong Un, following his attendance at the opening ceremony for the “year of China-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Friendship” in Pyongyang. Expressing China’s commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation, Zhao conveyed China’s willingness to deepen ties and pursue mutually beneficial endeavors with North Korea.

In response, Kim Jong Un reciprocated the sentiment, expressing the North’s eagerness to fortify the longstanding friendship and embark on a new era of relations with China. A published photo captures the exchange, portraying a cordial atmosphere between the two leaders as they exchanged smiles and handshakes.

Zhao’s visit also featured engagements with other North Korean officials, including Choe Ryong Hae, further underscoring the depth of bilateral exchanges and cooperation. Discussions encompassed not only diplomatic matters but also cultural exchanges, as showcased by joint performances celebrating the enduring friendship between the two nations.

Amidst North Korea’s increasingly strained relations with South Korea, marked by heightened rhetoric and military posturing, its engagement with China emerges as a significant diplomatic maneuver. Zhao’s visit potentially lays the groundwork for future interactions, including the possibility of a state visit by Kim to Beijing, as speculated by South Korean media reports.

As the Chinese delegation bids farewell to North Korea, the exchange symbolizes the enduring ties between the two nations, even as geopolitical dynamics in the region continue to evolve. Through diplomatic gestures and expressions of solidarity, China and North Korea reaffirm their commitment to advancing mutual interests and fostering regional stability.

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