North Korea

North Korea sends message of congratulations to China over party congress despite growing tensions between old allies

Pyongyang’s message comes at a time of increased friction over its nuclear programme

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 9:32am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 October, 2017, 3:23pm

North Korea sent a congratulatory message to the 19th congress of China’s Communist Party on Wednesday despite increasingly frayed relationships between the traditional allies, as China tightens sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

The central committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea said that China has made “great progress in accomplishing the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics” under the correct guidance of the Communist Party of China.

“We are greatly pleased over this,” the party central committee said in the message carried by the official KCNA news agency, adding that it “sincerely wished” the China congress “satisfactory success”.

Officials and experts in South Korea had worried that Pyongyang may conduct a weapons test to coincide with the opening of the twice-a-decade Community Party congress in Beijing.

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While the United States and its allies, and many people in China, believe Beijing should do more to rein in Pyongyang, the acceleration of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities has coincided with a near-total breakdown of high-level diplomacy between the two.

China, Pyongyang’s sole major ally and which accounts for more than 90 per cent of world trade with the isolated country, has said it will strictly enforce UN Security Council sanctions banning imports of coal, textiles and seafood, while cutting off oil shipments to the North.