In a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of a historic congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping said it was more important than ever that Beijing and Pyongyang enhance communication, unity and cooperation, North Korea's state media reported Sunday.
The letter was in response to congratulations Kim sent for the congress, which is scheduled to begin Sunday. Xi is poised to win a third five-year term as General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party, the most powerful job in the country, at the congress.
Xi expressed willingness to strengthen the relationship between China and North Korea, and "make a great contribution to providing [the] two countries and their people with greater happiness and defending peace and stability in the region and the rest of the world," North Korea state news agency KCNA said.
The reported expression of support comes as North Korea has tested a record number of ballistic missiles and has prepared to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017.
North Korea says its latest military activities, which have also included artillery drills and flights by warplanes, are in response to displays of force by South Korea and the United States, which have staged their own military drills to protest the North's tests.
When asked Friday about the latest North Korean moves and South Korea's reactions, Chinese foreign ministry representative Mao Ning called on all parties to prevent the situation from escalating and work towards creating the conditions for resuming a dialogue.