SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a rare congratulatory message to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday at the end of China’s Communist Party Congress, wishing him “great success” as head of the nation, the North’s state media said.
The friendly gesture by the North Korean leader, who seldom issues personal messages, comes as China is being urged by the international community to do more to rein in the North’s missile and nuclear tests that have raised tensions globally.
Xi became China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong at the all-important week-long congress.
“It expressed the conviction that the relations between the two parties and the two countries would develop in the interests of the peoples of the two countries,” the North’s state-run central news agency said in a statement on Thursday, citing the message sent by Kim to Xi.
“The Chinese people have entered the road of building socialism with the Chinese characteristics in the new era” under the guidance of Xi, the message said.
The two countries often exchange routine diplomatic correspondence and ceremonial letters to each other on political anniversaries or political promotions, although personal messages to and from the leaders tend to be few.
Analysts said it was too early to tell whether or not ties between the two countries were warming up.
“Congratulatory messages between North Korea and China are an old story and reading too much into the message exchanged would be a one-sided analysis,” said Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
“It’s what they usually do and not surprising at all.”