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North Korea leader sends congratulations to China's Xi after congress

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North Korea leader sends congratulations to China's Xi after congress

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SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a rare congratulatory message to China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the North’s state media said on Thursday, wishing the Chinese leader “great success” in his future tasks as head of the nation. It was a warm overture from the North Korean leader, who rarely issues personal messages, as China is being urged by the international community to do more to rein in the North’s missile and nuclear tests that have raised tensions globally. “It expressed the conviction that the relations between the two parties and the two countries would develop in the interests of the peoples of the two countries,” the North’s state-run central news agency said in a statement, citing the message sent by Kim to Xi. “The Chinese people have entered the road of building socialism with the Chinese characteristics in the new era” under the guidance of Xi, the message also said. The letter came just a day after China wrapped up its week-long conclave which unveiled a new leadership line-up without naming a clear successor. China is the North’s sole major ally, and accounts for more than 90 percent of trade with the isolated country. Beijing has been called upon by several countries, especially the United States, to step up its efforts to curb North Korea’s ambitions towards building a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile that can reach the United States. China has said it will strictly enforce U.N. Security Council sanctions banning imports of coal, textiles and seafood, while cutting off oil shipments to the North.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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