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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
The North Korean ruling party daily on Thursday said the fate of the North Korean and Chinese people are inseparably linked, in an analysis marking the 58th anniversary of the signing of the DPRK-China Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance.
The analysis, carried on the sixth page of the Rodong Sinmun, came the same day that the two countries were reported to have exchanged high-level delegations.
“The treaty greatly contributed to strengthening and developing the DPRK-China relations of friendship and cooperation, advancing the socialist feats, and defending the peace and security of Asia and the rest of the world,” it said.
In a Korean-language analysis, the party daily said that the improvement of bilateral ties was linked to the international situation, stressing that the Chinese and North Korean people are obliged to make efforts to that end.
“Today’s international circumstances demand the people of the two countries… further develop the DPRK-China relations corresponding to the trend of the times,” the newspaper read. “This is the common duty of the people of the two countries.”
“Time has passed, and a lot has changed,” it continued. “But the truth — that the fate of the people of the DPRK and China are inseparable — remains unchanged.”
And though the Rodong has previously reported on commemorative events and exchanges of letters, Thursday’s analysis appears to be the first time that it has featured a statement on July 11 celebrating the anniversary since Kim Jong Un came to power.
The party daily on Thursday repeated past claims that the North Korean leader’s four visits to China had led to a “new heyday for the development of… friendly relations,” adding that the leaders Kim and Xi also had an “impressive meeting” in Pyongyang.
“The warm meeting brimming with friendly feelings between the leaders of the two countries was a historic moment that once again shows the future of the two countries’ relations, which will be brighter and more beautiful, to the entire world.”
The Rodong Sinmun said the bilateral friendship would be “further solidified and developed” by Kim and Xi.
Thursday’s analysis comes amid reports that Beijing and Pyongyang exchanged high-level delegations, visits which appear to be follow-up measures to commitments made by the two leaders earlier in the year.
KCNA reported on Wednesday that a delegation of the Information Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Director-General Lu Kang, who also serves as a spokesperson for the ministry, had arrived in Pyongyang.
In return, first vice director at the International Department at the Central Committee of the WPK Kim Song Nam and a delegation also departed for China on the same day, according to KCNA.
The visit is the first of their kind since July 2013, when a delegation of the International Department led by then-vice director Kim Song Nam traveled to China.
Kim Song Nam was also part of the entourage at Kim’s first meeting with Xi in March last year, and was spotted by media on the sidelines of the first and second DPRK-U.S. summits in June 2018 and February 2019.
The first vice director also reportedly accompanied Kim Jong Un during the leader’s trip to Vladivostok for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in April.
Bilateral Sino-DPRK exchanges have stepped up since the fifth summit between the two countries, with a “friendly delegation” of the DPRK Ministry of People’s Security (MPS) reported to have departed for China this week.
Following Xi’s state visit to Pyongyang, delegations of the DPRK’s Journalists Union of Korea, the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea (DFRK), and educationalists at Kim Chaek University of Technology have traveled to China.
First vice minister of Physical Culture and Sports Kim Jong Su also made a trip to China between June 25 and July 1, KCNA reported.
Edited by James Fretwell and Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: KCNA