‘Special Ties’ Omitted in NK Letter to China’s Pres. Xi

North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun sent a congratulatory
message to Chinese President Xi Jinping in time for the country’s 65th National
Day, but noticeably without any mention of ‘special ties’ between the two
sides, signaling a change in relations between Pyongyang and Beijing.

The North’s state-run Chosun Central News Agency [KCNA]
reported the message had been sent on Tuesday to President Xi, Premier Li
Keqiang, and Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, under
the name of the North’s Kim Jong Eun, the head of parliament, Kim Yong Nam, and
Prime Minister Park Bong Ju.

“We, in the name of the Chosun Workers’ Party and the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, send our message of congratulations to
you, the Communist Party, and all members of the People’s Republic of China in
celebration of the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation,” the message

In addition, it said, “We hope to see the people of China
reap greater results in the fight for development and prosperity of the state,”
adding, “We hope for wealth and power as well as people’s happiness in the

However, unlike other letters, what went unmentioned was “North
Korea-China” relations and emphasis on what ‘special’ nature it has, leading
many to believe it signals frosty ties between the two countries compared to
the close relationship they maintained.

Kim Jong Eun has sent multiple messages of congratulations
to President Xi on Chinese national celebrations since taking office in 2012.
It is believed this particular letter was made public through media in the
North in order to prove bilateral ties still remain strong. Notably, many of
the expressions used in past National Day messages were omitted.

Last year, the North’s leader wrote to President Xi, “Our
ties carry the heart and soul of our elder leaders and revolutionary ancestors
and have battled through many hardships in history. It is this party and
republic’s stance that we carry on and strengthen this friendship,” emphasizing
the two countries are “blood brothers.”

“Today the people of China, following the leadership of the
Communist Party, are pouring all their efforts into strengthening the state’s
power and stance on the global stage in order to achieve the ‘China Dream’ of
seeing the nation rise once again,” it also read.

In 2012, Kim called the foundation of the People’s Republic
of China a “groundbreaking event,” and wrote, “It is the teaching of Great
Leader Kim Il Sung and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il to continue and further develop
the friendship of Chosun [North Korea] and China, which is a gem shared between
both sides.”

President Xi, also in a message sent earlier to Kim Jong Eun
on September 9th in honor of North Korea’s National Day, left out the
expression, “continuing traditions, aiming for the future, friendly relations,
stronger cooperation,” known as the fundamental principles of Pyongyang-Beijing

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