PYONGYANG, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- This year has seen new landmarks in relations between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), giving impetus to further development, Chinese Ambassador Liu Hongcai said Monday.
Friendly exchanges between the two nations boast a long history, and bilateral friendship entered a new era around 60 years ago thanks to joint efforts by then leaders and warriors of both countries, Liu told Xinhua.
In the new century, leaders of the two sides have built on the past achievements and mapped out a fresh prospect for the friendly and cooperative relations, he added.
His remarks came in the wake of a series of high-level exchanges. In the past two weeks, Chinese President Hu Jintao sent two messages to Kim Jong Il, top leader of the DPRK, congratulating him respectively on a historic conference of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and his re-election as general secretary, and on the party's 65th birthday.
Meanwhile, at the invitation of the WPK Central Committee, newly formed at the party conference, Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, led a delegation to Pyongyang for a three-day official visit that ended Monday.
"The first decade of the new century saw steady consolidation and growth of China-DPRK relations, in which we take both delight and pride," Liu told Xinhua.
"Particularly, this year marks an extraordinary year of the China-DPRK friendship, with bilateral relations enjoying new progress and showing once again robust vitality and great potential," he added.
History and reality have repeatedly proved, he said, that however the international situation changes, friendship between the two neighbors will stand all tests and come out even stronger to the benefit of both countries and peoples.
Noting that bilateral cooperation has become increasingly extensive and diverse, Liu said that trade between the two countries has been growing steadily in recent years. Trade volume reached 2.6 billion U.S. dollars last year, six-odd times higher than that at the beginning of the century.
As Pyongyang attaches more importance to developing its economy and improving the livelihood of its people, it is reaching out for more foreign economic cooperation. Such a need provides business opportunities for many Chinese enterprises, he added.
Since his arrival in Pyongyang over half a year ago, Liu said, he has held talks with DPRK leaders on different occasions and has frequently visited local schools, factories and mines, from which he felt a deep bond of his hosts with China and the bilateral friendship.
Looking into the future, Liu said he is confident that new developments will be accomplished in China-DPRK relations.
The confidence roots in the glorious history of the China-DPRK ties, in the profound friendship between the two peoples and in the expanding common interests of the two countries, he said.