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Iran Press TV

North Korea-China friendship 'invincible': Kim told Xi

Iran Press TV

Fri Jun 21, 2019 09:32AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hailed "immutable and invincible" relations between Beijing and Pyongyang as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a historic visit to the North.

Kim told the Chinese president that his visit was an opportunity to demonstrate "the immutability and invincibility of the DPRK-China friendship before the world," the North official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday.

At a time when "serious and complicated changes are happening in international and regional situations," the two leaders agreed to "promote close strategic communication" and develop their "common interests," KCNA added.

Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Pyongyang in 14 years, left the North on Friday, pledging his country's assistance for Pyongyang's efforts to ensure its own security and development.

In an address on Thursday, Xi said the North under leader Kim Jong-un had "initiated a new strategic line of economic development and improving people's livelihoods, raising socialist construction in the country to a new high tide."

China – the North's key diplomatic supporter and main provider of trade and aid – was the first foreign nation Kim paid a visit to, since the two sides began working to improve ties back in 2018.

Kim traveled to China three more times to meet Xi in the past two years.

According to analysts, Xi's visit to Pyongyang was aimed at sending a message to Washington, just a week before the G20 summit in Japan, where he will possibly meet US President Donald Trump.

Washington-Pyongyang ties came to a halt following the failure of a second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam.

Back in May, Pyongyang announced that the talks would never be resumed unless Washington "comes forward with a new method of calculation."

Chinese media quoted Kim as saying that he was "willing to be patient" in the talks with the US, but wanted "the parties concerned" to meet him halfway.

Xi told Kim that Beijing "positively evaluated" Pyongyang's efforts, according to China's official broadcaster CCTV.

"Xi is saying that he will help Kim resist pressure from the US and calling on Kim to stick to his demands," said Jeung Young-tae, director of the Institute of North Korean Studies in South Korea's capital, Seoul.

Washington has imposed rounds of unilateral sanctions and spearheaded multilateral ones against Pyongyang since 2006 over its nuclear and missile programs.

Since the diplomatic engagement with the South and the US started, North Korea has taken a number of goodwill measures, including suspending all nuclear and missile testing.

Washington has reciprocated none of those measures.

Xi's visit to the North has also raised the prospect of additional economic relations between Pyongyang and Beijing.

A new report, however, suggests that even if sanctions are eventually eased, Pyongyang will be having more fundamental problems to overcome if it wants access to foreign finance.

"Although an easing of sanctions imposed on the North because of its nuclear weapons program is necessary, it is not sufficient for the North to gain full access to the global capital market," said a report by US-based think tank The Korea Society.

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