Xi expresses gratitude to NK leader for Olympic congratulatory messages

SEOUL, 26 Feb. (Yonhap) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed his gratitude for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s messages regarding the Beijing Winter Olympics and expressed his hope for developing friendly relations between the two countries, Northern state media reported on Saturday.

Xi sent a letter to the North Korean leader on Monday thanking Kim for sending congratulatory messages on the “successful” opening and closing of the Winter Games, according to the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). ).

Xi said Kim’s message showed that the northern leader and his people have “friendly feeling” towards him and the Chinese people, and their support for the Winter Games.

The Winter Olympics were held in Beijing from February 4 to 20. North Korea did not participate in the games after the International Olympic Committee decided to suspend the North from the Beijing Olympics as punishment for refusing to participate in the Tokyo Games last year due to related problems. to COVID-19.

Xi also said his country is ready to work with North Korea to “steadily develop the relations of friendship and cooperation between China and the DPRK” and “make positive contributions to peace, stability , development and prosperity of the region,” the KCNA said. DPRK stands for the official name of the North, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim has sent ‘letters’ and ‘verbal messages’ to China’s president in public more frequently in recent years as Pyongyang seeks to strengthen ties with its traditional ally amid international sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs .