HAVANA – Former Cuban president and first secretary of the Communist Party Raul Castro welcomed on Thursday in Havana the North Korean Workers’ Party’s vice chairman, Ri Su-yong, who passed on a message from his country’s leader Kim Jong-un.
Castro and Ri had a “friendly meeting” in the Cuban capital.
“During the friendly meeting, the traditional bonds of friendship and the excellent relations between our peoples, parties and governments were brought to light,” said an official statement from the meeting broadcast on Cuban state television.
The statement, however, did not reveal the content of Kim’s message to Castro.
Headed by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, the previous official visit to Cuba of a North Korean delegation took place in November last year and also conveyed a message from Kim to Castro.
At that time, the North Korean foreign minister had arrived in Havana amid heightened international pressure on the Asian country as a result of its insistent weapons tests.
During the visit, both nations agreed to maintain a political dialogue to continue consolidating their socialist models despite pressure from the United States.
Cuba and North Korea have had close ties since they established diplomatic relations in 1960.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who died in 2016, visited Pyongyang in 1986 and met with its founder, Kim Il-sung, and his son and successor, Kim Jong-il, respectively grandfather and father of Kim Jong-un.
Currently, both countries have agreements on cooperation in various sectors, including education, oil, agriculture and trade, as well as diplomatic and cultural exchanges.