Prior to his visit to North Korea, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote a rare opinion piece in North Korea’s official newspaper on Wednesday, June 19th saying China’s friendship with North Korea is “irreplaceable,” AFP has reported.
Following an official invitation from North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, President Xi will visit the country for two days, on Thursday and Friday.
Xi’s visit comes after the nuclear negotiations between Kim and President Trump back in February failed when, according to the US, Pyongyang refused to back down from its nuclear ambitions unless all sanctions were lifted.
In his rare opinion piece in the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, Xi highlighted China’s willingness to work on joint projects with North Korea to achieve “permanent stability” in the East Asia Region.
"We will actively contribute to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity by strengthening communication and coordination with North Korea and other relevant parties to make progress in talks and negotiations on the issues on the Korean Peninsula," Xi said in the piece.
Xi stressed that this year marks the seventieth anniversary of Beijing-Pyongyang relations and said their friendship only gets stronger as time passes.
"Over the past 70 years we (North Korea and China) have been unyieldingly advancing forward on the same boat, breaking through rain and wind," Xi wrote.
"One can say this friendship is irreplaceable even with millions of fortune," Xi added.
Xi’s visit to North Korea comes one week before the G20 summit in Japan, where Trump and China’s Xi will likely discuss the ongoing trade war between the two countries.