China vows cooperation with North Korea under 'new situation'
China accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea's bilateral trade
China's President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of cooperation between Beijing and Pyongyang in an unspecified "new situation,” North Korea's state media reported Saturday.
North Korea, officially known as the DPRK, carried out an unprecedented seven weapon tests in January - including its most powerful missile since 2017 - with negotiations with the United States at a standstill.
It paused testing during the Beijing Winter Olympics, with analysts saying the decision could have been made out of deference to China.
Beijing is Pyongyang's most important ally and economic benefactor.
In his message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Xi said Beijing was ready to "develop the China-DPRK relations of friendship and cooperation" under a "new situation,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
KCNA did not further elaborate on what the "new situation" entailed.
North Korea is reeling economically from a self-imposed Covid blockade and restarted cross-border trade with Beijing last month.
China accounts for more than 90 percent of the isolated country's bilateral trade.
Pyongyang is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Some experts believe that with the eyes of the world focussed on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, North Korea might take the opportunity to test-fire long-range missiles.