China’s Hu Calls, Congratulates North Korea’s Kim Jong Un

China’s President Hu Jintao congratulated Kim Jong Un on his appointment as North Korea’s “supreme commander” in a phone call on Dec. 31, according to a government statement.

China has enjoyed a “traditionally strong friendship” with its North Korean neighbor in the past and will maintain and strengthen those relations in the coming year, Hu said, according to a statement posted on the foreign ministry’s website.