It appears North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has rolled up his sleeves to rebuild ties with its biggest economic ally China, after those ties were severed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The North's state run Korean Central News Agency reported Friday that Kim has sent a "verbal message" to Chinese President Xi Jinping lauding Beijing's success in containing the spread of the virus.
The report, without specifying how and when the message was delivered, stated that Kim had congratulated the Chinese leader, saying he is seizing a chance of victory in the war against the unprecedented epidemic.
In February, Kim Jong-un had sent a message to President Xi regarding the coronavirus and then sent financial aid under the name of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party.
The timing of the recent message by North Korea comes as the country tries to normalize its economy and it shows the regime may not be able to do that without normalizing its trade ties with China.
This goes in line with Kim Jong-un's attendance at a ceremony earlier this month to celebrate the completion of a fertilizer factory in Sunchon which the North touted as the first key outcome of its drive towards so-called "frontal breakthrough" aimed at developing its economy crippled by international sanctions.
A recent report by the Korea International Trade Association shows North Korea's trade dependence on China reached an all-time high of more than 95-percent last year up from around 92-percent a year earlier.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.