North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to strengthen ties with China, calling the alliance between the two countries a “strategic option”, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Friday. This comes as the North and the US are widely expected to resume stalled nuclear disarmament talks in a few weeks.
Kim made the remarks in response to a congratulatory message sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 9 to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of North Korea. Pyongyang-Beijing ties which were degrading owing to repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests of North Korea had warmed up recently through a series of talks between Kim and Xi. Xi visited Pyongyang in June – the first trip by a Chinese head of state to North Korea in 14 years – while Kim has visited China four times since March 2018.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to Pyongyang earlier this month also raises speculation of another summit in the near future.