North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offered his “warm congratulations” on Thursday to China’s Xi Jinping on taking over the reins of the world’s most populous country and Pyongyang’s closest ally.
Xi succeeded Hu Jintao as head of the Communist Party in China – North Korea’s main source of economic aid.
“Please accept my warm congratulations on the successful holding of the 18th National Congress and your election,” Kim was quoted as saying in a message carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korea and China are “linked by the same mountain and rivers”, Kim said, hailing the “common precious wealth” of their deep-rooted and historic friendship.
“Believing that the traditional DPRK-China friendship which has developed down through generations will continue to grow in conformity with the wishes of the two peoples, I sincerely wish you great success in your responsible work,” he added.
The North’s reliance on China has increased as international sanctions over its missile and nuclear programmes have strangled its ability to secure international credit and foreign trade.