BEIJING (Al Jazeera) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has told North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that Beijing is willing to work with Pyongyang for global peace and stability, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
In his message to Kim, Xi said Beijing was ready to work together for “peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region and the world”, KCNA reported.
Xi said he was willing to collaborate with Pyongyang as “changes in the world, times, and history are taking place in unprecedented ways”, KCNA said, quoting from the message it said was received in response to congratulations from Kim after the Chinese Communist Party Congress last month handed Xi a third term.
The report on Saturday came days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in one of its most powerful tests yet, declaring it would meet perceived nuclear threats from the United States with nuclear weapons of its own.
North Korea has conducted a record-breaking blitz of missile launches in recent weeks.
Days before North Korea’s ICBM launch, Xi met on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Bali with U.S. President Joe Biden, who voiced confidence that Beijing does not want to see a further escalation by Pyongyang.
Washington has said it wants China, Pyongyang’s most important ally and economic benefactor, to use its influence to help rein in North Korea.
The November 18 missile launch appeared to be Pyongyang’s newest ICBM with the potential range to hit the U.S. mainland.
North Korea was top of the agenda when Chinese and Japanese leaders held their first face-to-face talks in three years at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bangkok.
Experts believe that the launch of one of North Korea’s most powerful weapons is a clear sign that its leader Kim Jong-un is not pleased with the recent talks.
Pyongyang’s missile launches have also come in response to Washington’s massive land, naval and aerial war games, along with South Korean and Japanese forces in the region – measures that North Korea regards as practice drills to invade the country.
Washington and Seoul have markedly stepped up their muscle-flexing near the North’s maritime border and airspace.
North Korea maintains that it will not tolerate U.S.-led war games in the region, vowing to continue responding with its own drills.