The two heads of state, President Xi Jinping and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, ride in an open-top car from the airport to the square of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which serves as a mausoleum for former supreme leaders of the country, June 20, 2019. Hundreds of thousands of local residents lined the streets to welcome Xi. (JU PENG/XINHUA)
SEOUL - Top Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday wrapped up his widely-watched state visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the first of its kind in 14 years, bringing bilateral ties to a new height in history and reaffirming China's commitment to a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.
The landmark visit has sent a clear message to the rest of the world: the China-DPRK traditional friendship has been ushered in a new era and the stronger-than-ever bilateral bonds will provide new impetus for addressing the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
Enhancing strategic communication and building closer ties between Beijing and Pyongyang not only accord with the interests of the two countries, but will, in a larger picture, contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity
During his state visit, Xi, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, met with Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, for the fifth time over the past 15 months.
The meeting is expected to open up a fresh chapter for advancing bilateral relations under new circumstances and carrying forward the unshakable friendship between the two peoples.
Xi's two-day visit to Pyongyang received hearty hospitality from the DPRK side. More than 250,000 people flocked to the streets in Pyongyang to welcome Xi.
At the square of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun which serves as a mausoleum honoring two former DPRK leaders, Xi received a salute from the DPRK's party and government officials as well as crowds of Pyongyang residents, making him the first foreign leader to be given such an honor at the highly symbolic venue.
The extraordinarily high-level reception once again showcased the close bonds between China and the DPRK. As Xi wrote in a signed article published ahead of his trip on Rodong Sinmun, the DPRK's mainstream newspaper, the time-honored friendship between the two peoples, which is more precious than gold, grows even stronger as time goes by.
More than a chance to look back on and consolidate 70 years of China-DPRK traditional friendship, Xi's visit offers an opportunity to inject more vitality into the traditional and cooperative relations and lift bilateral ties to a higher level, as the international landscape is going through profound and complex changes.
What's more, enhancing strategic communication and building closer ties between Beijing and Pyongyang not only accord with the interests of the two countries, but will, in a larger picture, contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity.
As Xi stressed in his talks with Kim, China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the DPRK as well as other relevant parties, and play a positive and constructive role in achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and long-term stability in the region.
The denuclearization process has seemingly faced a stalemate since the summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, ended without an agreement four months ago.
READ MORE: Xi highlights support for DPRK, cooperation
During their talks, Kim told Xi that over the past year, the DPRK has taken many active measures to avoid tensions and control the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but has not received positive responses from the party concerned, which the DPRK does not want to see.
Fortunately, resolving the highly sensitive and complex issue through negotiations has not veered off course.
China, for its part, has always been a strong supporter of a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and has advocated accommodating the reasonable concerns of all relevant parties through dialogue and consultations.
Better coordination between China and the DPRK will facilitate that ongoing process and help provide more positive force, pushing forward dialogue among parties concerned.
A peaceful and nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is what the international community desires. It is expected by all that a brand new chapter in the China-DPRK relations on the occasion of Xi's historic visit can also gather more momentum for dialogue and possibly greater progress on the Korean Peninsula issue.
HONG KONG NEWS