SEOUL – North Korea’s official media said on Thursday that Cuban President Raul Castro has expressed his solidarity with the Kim Jong-un regime, which is facing a crisis with the current administration in Washington.
Castro expressed his support while speaking with Ju Yong-gil, the head of a group of North Korean trade unions, whom he met this week at the world’s federation of trade unions meeting in Havana, the official news agency KCNA reported Thursday.
“Referring to the present situation on the Korean Peninsula, Raul Castro Ruz said that Cuba extends its full support to the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Korean people in their just struggle, and will always stand with them on the anti-U.S. joint front,” read the short text reported by KCNA.
Ju’s visit to Havana comes at a time of heightened tension in the Korean peninsula owing to Pyongyang’s arms tests and the United States’ toughened rhetoric after President Donald Trump came to power, whose administration has hinted at the possibility of a preemptive strike.
North Korea has recently sought to strengthen its relations with the Caribbean nation to break Pyongyang’s diplomatic isolation in the face of toughened sanctions imposed after its repeated weapons tests.
North Korea and Cuba have maintained close diplomatic relations since they were established in 1960.
North Korea sent Choe Ryong-hae, considered to be number three in the Juche regime, to Havana last year to pay tribute to Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro visited North Korea only once – in 1986 – when he met with the founder of the country Kim Il-sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-il, grandfather and father respectively of the current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.