Kim Jong Un (L) has met more times with China's Xi Jinping (R) than any other world leader. Xi promised to support North Korea's development, according to Pyongyang's state media on Thursday. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed his will to support North Korea's economic development in response to a letter from Kim Jong Un.
Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Thursday Xi sent a message to the North Korean leader after Kim congratulated Xi, who rules without term limits, on the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The anniversary was Oct. 1.
According to the Rodong, Xi said he is willing to develop in succession the "traditional Sino-Korean friendship, to better the welfare of our two peoples, and promote regional peace, stability and development."
"Globally today, major changes are taking place rapidly for the first time in a century," Xi said, according to the Rodong. "The traditional friendship between the two countries is getting stronger as the years go by."
Xi's statement of support to Kim comes at a time when North Korea depends heavily on China for help amid COVID-19.
"Chairman Kim did not seek assistance from the outside world, including South Korea, because he could rely on China," said Shin Beom-chul, director of the Center for Diplomacy and Security at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy in the South, according to local paper Munhwa Ilbo on Thursday. Shin also said it is possible economic cooperation could resume in 2021 between Beijing and Pyongyang, depending on the pandemic.
Xi's letter is being highlighted in North Korean media the same day a KCNA reporter, Ri Kyong Ju, condemned a recent meeting between White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien and his South Korean counterpart Suh Hoon. KCNA said Suh "degraded sacred North-South relations" when he said at a recent press conference inter-Korea relations must be addressed with partners like the United States.
"These [South Koreans] are Made-in-USA sapsal [shaggy] dogs that are stubbornly pro-American, even to the bone," KCNA said.
Analysts have previously said North Korea is waiting until after the U.S. presidential election results are finalized before resuming talks with the United States. Election Day is Tuesday.