A senior North Korean official calls for improved relations with China

SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) — Kim Sung NamNorth Korea's Central News Agency reported on Monday that the director of the International Department of the North Korean Workers' Party called for strengthening relations with China, in the latest in a series of meetings with senior officials. – Senior Chinese officials.

The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim made these statements during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Saturday, noting that this year is the year of friendship between North Korea and China.

The year 2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between North Korea and China, Pyongyang's oldest ally and largest economic benefactor.

In response, Wang said he is confident that the friendly relations between the two countries will advance under the strategic leadership of their leaders, adding that Beijing will strengthen communications and cooperation with Pyongyang to protect their common interests.

Kim also met on Thursday with Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Liu Jianchao, head of the party's International Liaison Department.

Kim was in Beijing on the first leg of his three-nation tour, which will also take him to Vietnam and Laos.

Kim's trip comes as North Korea appears to be resuming diplomatic activity with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), years after Pyongyang closed its borders due to the coronavirus.

As the country holding the ASEAN Chairmanship this year, Laos plans to host the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and other ASEAN-related meetings. The ASEAN Regional Forum, which is held annually, is the only regional forum in which North Korea participates.

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ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (the former Burma), the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The photo, published by KCNA on March 25, 2024, shows the director of the International Department of the North Korean Workers' Party, Kim Song Nam (left), taking a photo with the Foreign Minister. China's Wang Yi during their meeting held on March 23 in Beijing. (Exclusive use within South Korea. Partial or total distribution prohibited)

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