Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, paid tribute to the martyrs of the Chinese People's Volunteers on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of victory in the country's Fatherland Liberation War (1950-53), DPRK's state media reported on Wednesday.
Kim, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, laid a wreath at the cemetery of CPV martyrs in Hoechang County, South Pyongan Province, on Tuesday, the Korean Central News Agency reported.
Kim, who was accompanied by senior officials, expressed gratitude for the CPV members who dedicated their lives to repel imperialist aggression in what is also known in the West as the Korean War.
The ribbons of the wreath presented by Kim read: "Martyrs of the Chinese People's Volunteers Will Be Immortal".
The noble soul and spirit of the sons and daughters of the Chinese people who supported the Korean people in the anti-imperialist struggle with their heroic sacrifice are recorded in history as a foundation and model of DPRK-China friendship to be immortal along with the socialist ideal, the report said, citing Kim.
He also placed a flower before the grave of Mao Anying, the eldest son of Chairman Mao Zedong, at the cemetery and paid tribute to him.
The visit came as the DPRK is holding events this week to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory in the Fatherland Liberation War. The country marks the anniversary on Thursday as Victory Day.
Kim's tribute shows that the DPRK cherishes the contribution made by the Chinese People's Volunteers, and also demonstrates the development of traditional friendship between the two countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Wednesday.
Calling Beijing and Pyongyang friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, Mao Ning said that consolidating bilateral ties conforms to the common interests of both sides and is conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, as well as in the region.
Guided by the important consensus of the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries, China would like to work with the DPRK to implement the will of the people of the two countries to push bilateral ties to achieve greater progress, she said.
The war is known in China as the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea. More than 2 million CPV soldiers fought alongside the DPRK army in the conflict from 1950 to 1953. Nearly 180,000 of them were killed, with most buried in the DPRK or the Republic of Korea.
Li Hongzhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, will lead a delegation to attend commemorative activities in Pyongyang.
Mao Ning, the spokeswoman, said on Tuesday: "We believe the visit will be conducive to promoting the sound and stable development of bilateral relations, contributing to regional peace and stability, and creating conditions for a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue."
Meanwhile, a Russian delegation led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday evening and was greeted by senior DPRK officials including Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam.
Pyongyang International Airport was "wrapped up in a warm welcome atmosphere" to greet Shoigu and the delegation, KCNA reported on Wednesday.
Shoigu's ministry said the delegation's visit will help strengthen relations and mark "an important stage" in the development of bilateral cooperation.