MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – North Korea reached out Monday to China, its traditional geopolitical patron, in an apparent attempt to mend ties damaged by the latest Korean crisis earlier this year, a South Korean news agency said.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un stressed “the need to strengthen traditionally friendly relations” between the two countries in a message to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Yonhap reported.
The message, which was to congratulate Xi on the 64th anniversary of the inception of the People’s Republic of China, also praised Beijing’s “stunning political, economic, cultural and technical achievements,” Yonhap said.
The South Korean agency cited the Pyongyang-based Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) for the message, though the text was not available on KCNA website, which had no news items for Monday as of this article’s publication.
Beijing is traditionally seen as the sole international ally of Pyongyang and the main trade partner of the impoverished isolationist state, which is also heavily reliant on humanitarian aid from China.
However, bilateral relations soured after North Korea conducted last spring a nuclear test and a ballistic missile launch, and proceeded to threaten South Korea and the United States with nuclear strikes after tensions escalated, a standoff that China largely failed to influence. In return, official Beijing imposed a number of sanctions against Pyongyang, including a suspension of North Korean foreign financial transactions going through China and an embargo on military imports.
(The article was expanded to add background, rewrites throughout.)