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China says willing to work with North Korea for ‘world peace’: North Korean media

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pyongyang on June 21, 2019. (AFP file photo)

North Korean state media has reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Beijing is willing to cooperate with Pyongyang for “world peace.”

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released the report on Saturday quoting from the message it said was received in response to congratulations from Kim after the Chinese Communist Party Congress last month handed Xi a third term.

Xi stressed in his message to Kim that Beijing is ready to cooperate with North Korea to establish “peace, stability, development, and prosperity of the region and the world.”

Xi said was fully willing to work with Pyongyang as “changes in the world, times, and history are taking place in unprecedented ways.”

Xi's message came days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile in one of its most powerful tests in months, announcing that it would respond to US nuclear threats with its own nuclear weapons.

On November 18, North Korea fired a long-range missile designed to strike the mainland US, a day after Pyongyang warned of a “fiercer” military response to the United States.

North Korea has tested an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles in recent weeks, alarming the United States and its allies as it prepares for its seventh nuclear test since 2017.

A few days before North Korea's ICBM launch, Xi met with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali and assured him that Beijing did not want to see any further escalation from Pyongyang.

Washington also asked China, as Pyongyang's most important economic ally, to use its influence to help rein in North Korea.

North Korea was also top of the agenda when Chinese and Japanese leaders held their first face-to-face talks in three years at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bangkok.

Experts believe that the launch of one of North Korea's most powerful weapons is a clear sign that its leader Kim Jong-un is not pleased with the recent talks.

Pyongyang’s missile launches have also come in response to Washington’s massive land, naval and aerial war games, along with South Korean and Japanese forces in the region – measures that North Korea regards as practice drills to invade the country.

Earlier this month, North Korea conducted a flurry of launches, including an ICBM. It also fired a short-range ballistic missile that crossed the de-facto maritime border between the two Koreas and landed near the South's territorial waters for the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Both launches were part of a November 2 barrage in which Pyongyang fired 23 missiles -- more than it launched during the entirety of 2017, the year of "fire and fury" when Kim traded barbs with then US president Donald Trump on Twitter and in state media before mending ties and holding face-to-face talks.

Washington and Seoul have markedly stepped up their muscle-flexing near the North's maritime border and airspace.

North Korea maintains that it will not tolerate US-led war games in the region, vowing to continue responding with its own drills.

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