North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has offered his congratulations to China’s Xi Jinping upon his re-election as president, North Korean state media said on Sunday, in a rare direct message from Pyongyang to Beijing after ties nosedived.
Kim has yet to visit China since assuming power in late 2011 with North Korea upset by China’s strong support for UN sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests and China angered by those repeated tests.
But China has been strongly supportive of efforts by both South Korea and the United States to improve ties with North Korea, which includes a planned meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump.
Chinese state media also reported the message, but did not say if Xi had responded.
That was followed by a visit of a senior Chinese envoy to Pyongyang, ostensibly to report on the outcome of the congress, but the envoy did not meet Kim.