China's foreign minister has vowed to deepen ties with North Korea and build on decades of cooperation during talks with the regime's new ambassador to China.
Echoing Wang Yi's sentiments during their meeting in Beijing Thursday, Ri Ryong-nam said it was an honor to be appointed envoy at a time when bilateral relations are at a new high.
The pledge comes just a few days after the summit between the leaders of South Korea and the U.S., and watchers say Beijing is keeping the Seoul-Washington alliance in check by highlighting its ties with the North.
Not wearing face masks, the two met for the first time since February when Ri was appointed succeeding Ji Jae-ryong in the first such appointment in a decade.
Ri served as the North's trade minister from 2008 to 2016 before becoming a vice premier in the regime's cabinet in 2019.
Earlier in March, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un exchanged letters to reaffirm their traditional alliance to address "hostile forces".
Kim's letter to Xi also came at a critical time as the Biden administration was set to unveil its new North Korea policy and followed a visit to Seoul by top U.S. officials.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.