Beijing was ready to develop the China-DPRK relations of friendship and cooperation.

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, their relationship was forged in the bloodshed of the Korean War in the 1950s.

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 official Korean Central News Agency reported.

KCNA did not further elaborate on what the “new situation” entailed.

North Korea is reeling economically from a self-imposed coronavirus blockade, and restarted cross-border trade with Beijing last month.

China accounts for more than 90 per cent of the isolated country’s bilateral trade.

Pyongyang is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

But regardless, it has warned it could abandon its self-imposed moratorium and resume testing intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons.

Some experts have warned 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.

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