TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Russian president Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent their congratulations on Sunday to Chinese leader Xi Jinping after he started an unprecedented third five-year term as general secretary of the ruling Communist Party.
Putin said in a telegram he looks forward to continuing "comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation" with China, and that Xi's firm grip on power has "fully confirmed your high political authority, as well as the unity of the party you lead," according to a Tass news agency dispatch monitored in Tokyo.
China has refrained from condemning Russia's aggression against Ukraine, while opposing sanctions imposed by Western nations. Beijing and Moscow have been reinforcing cooperation lately as their relations with the United States have deteriorated.
"From the bottom of my heart, I wish you, dear friend, new achievements in your important activities, good health and well-being," Putin was quoted by Tass as telling Xi.
Separately, Kim said he is convinced that the Communist Party and the Chinese people would "win shining victory in the new journey for maintaining and developing socialism with the Chinese characteristics" and for building "modern socialist state under your leadership," according to North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.
Kim pledged that together with Xi, he will shape a "more beautiful future" for bilateral relations that meet the demand of the times and work toward powerfully propelling the socialist cause in the two countries, KCNA said.
China is North Korea's closest and most influential ally in economic terms.