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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks with Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong during an event in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 28, 2023, in this image released by North Koreas Korean Central News Agency. — Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks with Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong during an event in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 28, 2023, in this image released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. — Reuters

North Korea’s state media Saturday said Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, held a meeting with a Chinese delegation that visited Pyongyang to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, Reuters reported.

During the meeting, Kim pledged to elevate the relationship between the two countries to unprecedented heights.

Kim Friday warmly welcomed the Chinese officials, led by Communist Party Politburo member Li Hongzhong, and hosted a reception for them.

It is noteworthy that this visit marked the first time a Chinese delegation had visited the secluded state since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Reaffirmed at the talk was the stand of the parties and governments of the two countries to cope with the complicated international situation on their own initiative and steadily develop the friendship and comradely cooperation onto a new high stage,” KCNA said.

The meeting took place after Chinese and Russian officials stood shoulder to shoulder with Kim on Thursday as they reviewed his newest nuclear-capable missiles and attack drones at a military parade in the capital Pyongyang.

Russia and China have opposed US-led efforts to impose more sanctions on North Korea over its pursuit of ballistic missiles in recent years, blaming US exercises in the region for raising tensions.

The US and South Korean navies held joint anti-submarine exercises in waters off South Korea’s southern island of Jeju on Saturday, the latest in a series of military drills by the allies in response to what they call North Korean provocations.

The exercise, involving a US nuclear-powered submarine USS Annapolis which had arrived in South Korea this week, was held to better counter North Korea’s evolving missile threats, the South’s navy said.

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