Chinese official meets North Korean leader Kim in highest-level talks for years

13 April 2024, 13:24

North Korea China
North Korea China. Picture: PA

Zhao Leji ranks third in the ruling Communist Party hierarchy.

A senior Chinese official has reaffirmed ties with North Korea during a meeting with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, China’s state media reported, in the highest-level talks between the allies in years.

The visit to Pyongyang by Zhao Leji, who ranks third in the ruling Communist Party hierarchy and heads China’s ceremonial parliament, came as North Korea has test fired missiles to intimidate South Korea and its ally the US.

The Xinhua News Agency reported that Mr Zhao told Mr Kim at the meeting concluding his three-day visit that China, the North’s most important source of economic aid and diplomatic support, looked forward to further developing ties, but made no mention of the political situation on the peninsula or the region.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 75 years ago, China and North Korea have been “good neighbours and struggled together to attain a common destiny and level of development”, Xinhua quoted Mr Zhao as saying.

North Korea China
Zhao Leji speaks during a welcome reception in Pyongyang (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP)

China fought on behalf of the reclusive Communist State against the US and others during the 1950-53 Korean War, and in recent years has helped prop up its weak economy, allegedly in violation of UN sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme that Beijing had endorsed.

Mr Zhao met his North Korean counterpart Choe Ryong Hae on Thursday and discussed how to promote exchanges and co-operation in all areas, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.

North Korea closed its borders during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic amid reports of a major outbreak and food shortages.

Mr Zhao’s visit marked the first bilateral exchange involving a Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member since the pandemic started. Mr Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping held two summits in 2019.

North Korea and China are expected to hold a number of exchanges this year to mark the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

North Korea has sought to boost its co-operation with Beijing and Russia in the face of a standoff with the US and South Korea over its missile launches and nuclear programme.

Mr Kim travelled to Russia in September for a summit with President Vladimir Putin. The US, South Korea and others accuse North Korea of supplying conventional weapons for Russia’s war in Ukraine in return for advanced weapons technologies and other support.

China has refused to criticise the Russian invasion and accused the US and Nato of provoking Moscow, but says it will not provide Russia with direct military support.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Venezuela Election

Venezuela revoke EU invitation to observe nation’s presidential election in July

Garry Conille

Transitional council in Haiti selects new PM for country under siege by gangs

Former US pesident Donald Trump sits with lawyers while he attends his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City

Trump trial: Prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ while defence attacks key witness

Smoke billows after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel

Israeli strikes continue near Gaza’s Rafah

Aid pier

US-built aid pier in Gaza will need to be removed after damage from rough seas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Zelensky expected in Normandy for D-Day commemorations, says Macron

Former US president Donald Trump speaks to members of the media upon arriving at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York

Key witness lied, Donald Trump’s lawyer tells jurors during closing arguments

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Zelensky secures further promise of military aid as he continues EU tour

US Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), US Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defence Forces placing the Trident Pier on the

Gaza aid via temporary pier suspended after rough seas cause damage – officials

Top NFL player accused of sexual assault by two flight attendants aboard London-bound flight

Top NFL player accused of sexual assault by two flight attendants aboard London-bound flight

Producer Albert S Ruddy appears backstage after his film Million Dollar Baby won best picture at the 77th Academy Awards on February 27 2005 in Los Angeles

Albert Ruddy, Oscar-winning producer of The Godfather, dies aged 94

Sam Altman

OpenAI boss Sam Altman joins Giving Pledge

Robert De Niro speaks to reporters in support of President Joe Biden across the street from former president Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York

Biden campaign sends De Niro to Trump trial to put focus on 2021 Capitol attack

A collapsed building is fenced off in Palma de Majorca, Spain

Majorca building involved in fatal collapse ‘lacked proper authorisation’

'It’s enthralling to me in a sort of perverse way': Benedict Cumberbatch on playing Dominic Cummings

Benedict Cumberbatch: Playing unravelling characters like Dominic Cummings is 'enthralling in a perverse way'

Virgin Australia plane tail

Passenger who 'went bananas' and 'ran through plane naked before knocking over attendant' is arrested