A water slide and new building projects are seen in the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's larger border city with North Korea. The two traditional partners may be exploring new way to a relationship despite tensions generated by Kim Jong Un's comments regarding North Korea's commitment to developing ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. File Photo by Stephen Shaver | License Photo
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- China and North Korea may be trying a new approach to relations after friction has increased following Pyongyang's repeated threats to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.
According to a source in Beijing, the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang recently invited high-ranking North Korea officials for a meeting that addressed the need to strengthen relations and cooperation, Yonhap TV reported Monday.
North Korean officials in attendance included Kim Yong Dae, vice chairman of the standing committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, and more than 70 others, according to the South Korean television network.
It was unclear which side initiated the meeting.
Although Chinese diplomats were hosting the reception, the number of North Korea officials who attended the event indicates Pyongyang is showing a willingness to improve relations with Beijing, according to the source.
China has expressed concerns regarding North Korea's vows to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile at "any time and at any place" upon command.
China's foreign ministry has said Beijing fears a situation that only escalates regional tensions.
"The United Nations Security Council has clear rules for North Korea regarding its use of ICBM technology to test missiles," spokesman Lu Kang said Jan. 9. "In this complex and sensitive situation, China asks all relevant parties to not engage in acts that will raise tensions."
Beijing has also raised concerns regarding North Korean soldiers after one soldier crossed the border and fired shots at a civilian vehicle last September.
The government has become increasingly irritated over the growing cases of North Korean crimes committed in China, and Pyongyang has not issued responses regarding border crime.