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China and North Korea aim for a "new chapter" of cooperation

China and North Korea aim for a "new chapter" of cooperation

China's third most powerful official, Zhao Leji - a member of the Chinese Communist Party Committee - paid a visit to North Korea this week as the two countries mark 75 years of diplomatic relations.

China is the country from which North Korea benefits the most, both diplomatically and economically.

China, along with Russia, have blocked efforts by the United States in the United Nations Security Council to sanction the government of Kim Jong Un, following an increase in the number of nuclear tests.

Zhao met with Kim on Saturday, Beijing's state news agency Xinhua reported.

He is quoted as having told the North Korean leader that China "is willing to strengthen cooperation with North Korea, and to preserve common interests on both sides."

Kim, on the other hand, is quoted as having told Zhao that North Korea is very interested in deepening traditional friendship and "writing a new chapter" in relations between the two countries, according to Xinhua.

Local South Korean media have reported that during Zhao's visit, plans were made for Kim's potential visit to Beijing.

Kim last met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019, before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, so the visit with Zhao is considered the most important meeting between senior state officials in recent years./VOA

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