North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un sent Chinese President Xi Jinping a floral basket on Friday to congratulate him on his 65th birthday, as relations between the two nations continue to warm following Kim’s pledge to pursue nuclear disarmament.
According to North Korean state media on Monday, Kim sent a “congratulatory letter and floral basket” along with his “warmest congratulations and comradely greeting to respected Comrade Xi Jinping” to celebrate his 65th birthday.
In a formal letter, Kim notes that “Xi Jinping, assuming the heavy responsibility as the top leader of the party, state, and army, wisely led the struggle of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people to achieve the great prosperity of China.”
Stressing that it is the steadfast will of the party and people of the DPRK to set much store by the DPRK-China friendship forged with blood and strenuously strengthen and develop it, unfazed by change of situation and any challenge, he expressed belief that the invincible vitality and inexhaustible potentials of the DPRK-China friendship, the valuable asset of the two parties and the peoples of the two countries, will be more powerfully demonstrated in the future, thanks to the joint efforts with Xi Jinping.
As noted by Chosun Ilbo, “The last time Kim sent Xi a birthday message was in 2013 before relations soured after Kim executed his uncle, who had been a trusted point man in relations with Beijing.”
Relations between the two communist nations appear to have strengthened in recent months as Beijing seeks to reward North Korea for their recent peace initiatives. In April, Kim visited Xi in his first ever foreign visit as head of state, before making another visit the following month.
China has also been pushing for the role as a “guarantor” and a “mediator” in ongoing talks between North Korea and the United States, after a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump where the two leaders agreed to “establish new U.S. – DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the population of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.”
Last week, it emerged that Chinese authorities were blocking internet searches for all words and articles deemed overly critical of Kim, including the popular Chinese expression “Jin San Pang,” translating as ‘Fatty the Third.’
Chinese state media continue to provide glowing coverage of visits of Chinese delegations to North Korea, as well as the country’s potential for economic growth. Editorials have also urged the international community to relieve sanctions against the regime as a reward for denuclearization.