Beijing: The North Korean Embassy in Beijing held an event on Wednesday commemorating the 80th birth anniversary of the country’s late former leader Kim Jong-il that was attended by Chinese officials, informed sources said.
Four to five Chinese officials, including senior officers, participated in the embassy-hosted event that took place for the first time since 2019 to celebrate the anniversary, called Kwangmyongsong, or Shining Star Day, according to the sources in Beijing.
The embassy did not hold such an event last year or in 2020 amid the Covid pandemic, Yonhap news agency reported.
“The number of attendees from the Chinese side was similar to that of the memorial event for Kim Jong-il’s 10th death anniversary on December 16 last year,” a source said.
In 2019, a number of Chinese officials attended the event, including Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Another source said that China might have considered how the US and like-minded countries have been strongly criticising Pyongyang for its recent series of missile tests.
Meanwhile, North Korea has touted efforts by its late leader to develop ties with China as it commemorated his diplomatic feats on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
In a post on its foreign ministry’s website, the North highlighted the “devotion” of Kim, father of current leader Kim Jong-un, to support the “revolutionary cause of the Chinese people” and strengthen relations in commemoration of his birthday, which falls on Wednesday this year.
It said he visited China nine times during his lifetime and that he “led the DPRK-PRC friendship into the further development and consolidation through centuries,” using the acronyms for the official names of the North and China — the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China.
It highlighted Kim’s efforts to maintain solidarity with China, such as sending high-level delegations to the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of China’s National Day in 1989 and to the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.
On Wednesday, the North’s Foreign Languages Publishing House distributed a photo album highlighting Kim Jong-il’s efforts to bolster relations between Pyongyang and Beijing, including his 1983 visit to China after he was tapped as successor to his father and then leader Kim Il-sung.