North Korea hails history of ‘amicable’ relations with China

April 9 (UPI) — North Korean state media is highlighting bilateral relations with China following the recent summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un.

Footage of past North Korean leaders, including Kim Il Sung, was being aired Sunday, placing an emphasis on “amicable” relations between the two countries that has persisted for six decades, South Korea’s Hankuk Ilbo reported Monday.

State media mentioned the current leader’s father, Kim Jong Il, and Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, met in 1983, when Xi Zhongxun was a leading official and vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

The current leaders met for the first time in March, and the summit has been promoted as a major step forward for diplomatic ties in countries that had been growing distant since sanctions were imposed.

Kim Jong Il and Xi Zhongxun had met in June 1983, when Kim had not fully inherited power from his father but worked as the organization secretary for the Korean Workers’ Party.

The elder Xi was in charge of escorting Kim from the train station in Beijing to the state guesthouse.

North Korea aired period footage showing the interaction between the two men mirroring the exchange seen between their sons at the recent summit.

In print publications, North Korea called attention to friendly exchanges between Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994, and Zhou Enlai, the Chinese premier who also played a key role in normalizing diplomatic relations with the United States.

Last month Workers’ Party Rodong Sinmun highlighted a moment in history: the presentation of a gift from Zhou to the North Korean leader — a “flower” that symbolized an alliance “forged in blood.”

China may have taken extra steps ahead of the recent summit to make sure it was a success, according to a Japanese press report.

Following the historical meeting, China delivered “large quantities of luxury items” to Kim Jong Un’s armored train for the return home, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.