Xi Jinping told North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un that Beijing was willing to work with Pyongyang for world peace. North Korean state media said on Saturday Nov 26 that the message came days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile in one of its most powerful tests yet, saying it would meet perceived US nuclear threats with nukes of its own.
North Korea has had a record-breaking blitz of missile launches in recent weeks and fears have grown that it is building up to a seventh nuclear test, its first since 2017.
In his message to Kim, Xi said Beijing was ready to work with the North for peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region and the world of Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency KCNA.
Xi said he was willing to collaborate with Pyongyang as changes in the world, times and history are taking place in unprecedented ways, as a result of the congratulations from Kim after the Chinese Communist Party Congress handed Xi a third term.
Days before North Korea's ICBM launch, Xi met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Bali with US President Joe Biden, who expressed confidence that Beijing does not want to see a further escalation by Pyongyang.
Washington wants to use its influence to help in North Korea, as Pyongyang's most important ally and economic benefactor.
The Nov. 18 missile launch appeared to be Pyongyang's newest ICBM with the potential range to hit the US mainland.
The UN Security Council convened an open meeting on the launch, with the United States, Britain, France and India among 14 nations strongly condemning Pyongyang's actions.
A Western diplomat told AFP that China and Russia had decided not to put their names on Monday's statement.
The United States accused Beijing and Moscow of protecting Pyongyang from further punishment earlier this month.
In May, China and Russia vetoed a US-led effort to tighten sanctions on North Korea in response to earlier launches.
China accounts for more than 90 percent of the country's bilateral trade, and Pyongyang is already under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.