As Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping officially renewed his term as the head of state, his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un sent a congratulatory letter, saying he hoped to further develop ties between the two communist nations.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s state-owned media organization, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), reported Sunday the letter Kim sent following the successful reelection of Xi, who is now slated to rule China for another five years.

“The 20th Congress of the CPC offered a significant landmark for the Chinese party and people in propelling the historic process of the Chinese nation’s great prosperity under the banner of the socialist idea with the Chinese characteristics in the new era,” Kim wrote.

“I, together with you, will shape more a beautiful future of the DPRK-China relations meeting the demand of the times and lead the endeavours for its realisation so as to continue to powerfully propel the socialist cause in the two countries.”

DPRK-China Relations

It’s no secret how these two communist-led countries have kept cordial relationships throughout the years, despite having a rather bad history. As China worked on dominating its close surrounding neighbors, North Korea took the necessary initiative to counterbalance the former’s influence. The latter’s defiance against the former’s policy preferences became somewhat a frustration and concern on how Pyongyang might align with the Western countries.

But, the contrary happened, which has been made clear since the late 2010s when China and North Korea used “their relationship to generate leverage and diplomatic advantage in their individual negotiations with the United States.” Nonetheless, the gap and undeniable distrust caused by resentment and crumbs from having a cracked bilateral relationship between the two countries remain evident.

It has been a back-and-forth between these two, with the worst by far happening in 2016-2017 when North Korea launched its notorious Nuclear and Missile Tests, with some analysts pointing out how Pyongyang seemingly designed the timing “to purposely embarrass or anger Beijing.”

In a thorough research report done by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) released earlier this year, it mentioned that out of the 20 missile tests Pyongyang conducted in 2017, one occurred a day before former US President Donald Trump and Xi’s summit in Florida that April and another right before the Belt and Road Forum commenced in Beijing the following month, to name a few.