Dictator Kim Jong Un and President Xi Jinping are spending 2024 celebrating their countries’ friendship.
North Korea’s supreme leader and a top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official exchanged declarations of “DPRK-China friendship” as the world welcomed the new year this week.
“Through the ‘PRC-China Friendship Year’, the two parties and the two countries will further promote exchanges and visits in all fields, including politics, economy and culture, further deepen the ties of friendship and unity and will intensify cooperation in the joint struggle to ensure regional and global peace and stability, thereby adding a new page to the history of DPRK-China relations,” said a report by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
“DPRK” is short for “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, the official name of the state of North Korea.
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Xi responded with a similar declaration of friendship for the Kim regime, celebrating “friendly and cooperative China-DPRK relations.”
“In recent years, China-DPRK traditional friendly and cooperative relations have entered a new historical period, thanks to the joint efforts and encouragement of both sides,” Xi said in his statement.
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The CCP general secretary continued: “It is our firm policy to defend, consolidate and successfully develop China-PRC traditional friendly and cooperative relations.”
North Korea is a strategic regional ally for China as the CCP aims to consolidate diplomatic power and repel perceived encroachment by Western nations.
Speaking on Friday at a gathering of Chinese diplomats and ambassadors in Beijing, Xi struck a combative tone as he urged ministers to keep China’s development in mind first and protect national interests from encroachment by Western powers.
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“It is necessary to […] resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, with a battle-ready attitude and a firm will to defy strong forces,” Xi said, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Xi lamented what he called the “escalating oppression and containment of China by external powers” in his speech, urging Chinese diplomats to “put discipline and rules first” to “build an iron diplomatic army loyal to the party , brave in taking responsibility, daring to fight and good in battle.”
Kim Jong Un, meanwhile, has made repeated threats of a nuclear strike against the US if provoked, saying at a meeting on Sunday that North Korea’s “precious sword” must be “sharpened”.