Xi sends a message to Kim amid an unprecedented number of missile tests by North Korea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Beijing is ready to work with Pyongyang for global peace and stability, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The report on Saturday came days after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in one of its most powerful tests yet, announcing that it would counter perceived nuclear threats from the United States with nuclear weapons of its own.
North Korea has carried out a record missile attack in recent weeks, and fears have grown that it is reaching its seventh nuclear test, its first since 2017.
In his message to Kim, Xi said Beijing is ready to work together for “peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and the world,” the KCNA reported.
Xi said he was willing to cooperate with Pyongyang because “changes in the world, times and history are happening in unprecedented ways,” the KCNA reported, citing the message it said it received in response to Kim’s post-CPC congratulations. Congress last month granted Xi a third term.
Days before North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch, Xi met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali with US President Joe Biden, who expressed confidence that Beijing did not want to see another escalation by Pyongyang.
Washington has said it wants China, Pyongyang’s most important ally and economic backer, to use its influence to help rein in North Korea.
The launch of the missile on November 18 appears to be Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile with a potential range to hit the US mainland.
The United Nations Security Council held an open meeting on the launch with the United States, United Kingdom, France and India among 14 countries to “strongly” condemn Pyongyang’s actions.
But a Western diplomat told AFP that China and Russia chose not to be named in a statement on Monday.
Earlier this month, the US accused Beijing and Moscow of shielding Pyongyang from further punishment.
In May, China and Russia vetoed US-led efforts to toughen sanctions on North Korea in response to past launches.
Pyongyang is already under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and China accounts for more than 90 percent of the impoverished country’s bilateral trade.
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