Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a “verbal message of thanks” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Beijing’s state media reported, offering the DPRK help in its work fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The note came in response to Kim’s own rare “verbal message” to Xi on Friday, in which the DPRK leader was reported to have congratulated his Chinese counterpart on his “success” in the fight against the pandemic.
China, Xi was reported to have told Kim on Saturday, is “willing to enhance anti-epidemic cooperation with the DPRK and provide as much support as its capacity allows for the DPRK in line with the latter’s needs,” the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Chinese leader has been paying “great attention to the epidemic prevention and control situation in the DPRK and the health of its people,” the report continued, praising his North Korean counterpart for leading domestic anti-epidemic measures.
Kim Jong Un was on Friday reported to have lauded the Chinese President’s “victory” in the country’s “war against the unprecedented epidemic” and “strategically and tactically controlling the overall situation.”
The Chinese leader in response on Saturday underlined the close bilateral ties between the two, alongside his offer of anti-epidemic cooperation between Beijing and Pyongyang.
Xi reportedly expressed “his confidence that with the joint efforts of China and the DPRK as well as the international community, a final victory will be won in the fight against COVID-19.”
North Korea officially claims there are no cases of the novel coronavirus within its territory, though it has, to date, only been reported to have tested 740 people for the virus.
China is one of few countries to have sent COVID-19 test kits to the North, although the amount of kits sent is unknown.
The Chinese and North Korean leaders have remained in frequent contact since the onset of the pandemic, with the DPRK leader having in February offered help to Xi in the form of an “aid fund.”
“Xi recalled that in February this year, Kim sent him a letter of sympathy over the COVID-19 outbreak and provided support for China’s prevention and control efforts,” Xinhua reported on Saturday.
That move, the Chinese President said, “vividly illustrated the solid foundation and strong vitality of the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK,” emphasizing the importance of enhancing “strategic communication” and exchange between the two countries.
“In so doing, the two neighbors can promote the continuous development of China-DPRK relations in the new era… and make positive contributions to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity,” Xinhua quoted Xi as having written.
Friday and Saturday’s correspondence between the two leaders also comes on the two-year anniversary of their second 2018 summit meeting, held in Dalian from May 7 to 8.
The two leaders last met in Pyongyang last June.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a "verbal message of thanks" to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Beijing's state media reported, offering the DPRK help in its work fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The note came in response to Kim's own rare "verbal message" to Xi on Friday, in which the DPRK leader was reported to have congratulated his Chinese counterpart on his “success” in the fight against the pandemic.