SEOUL – Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have met in Pyongyang and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation, the North Korean state news agency KCNA reported on Monday.
Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, received Diaz-Canel and his wife Lis Cuesta Peraza on their arrival on Sunday at Pyongyang International Airport along with top staff of the North Korean regime.
Among them were the North Korean honorary president Kim Yong-nam and other members of the Politburo of the Workers’ Party of Korea, such as Choe Ryong-hae, Pak Pong-ju, Ri Su-yong, Pak Thae-song or Ri Yong-ho.
Kim and his wife also received the Cuban presidential couple upon their arrival at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in the capital at the beginning of a three-day visit.
The Cuban and North Korean leaders subsequently held a solo meeting in which they called for “further expanding and developing cooperation and exchanges in various fields including economy, culture, public health, science and technology to meet common interests,” according to KCNA.
Kim and Diaz-Canel expressed their mutual support and solidarity as well as exchanging views on issues of common interest and on international politics, and reached “a consensus” on all of them, KCNA said.
The North Korean leader also offered a banquet to the Cuban leader and his companions, during which he described the Cuban president’s visit as “a watershed in demonstrating the will to carry forward forever the friendship between the two countries,” which are “in the same trench in the struggle for defending sovereignty and dignity.”
Diaz-Canel responded in a speech stressing that his visit during “a historic period of inheriting the cause of the revolution in Cuba is an evident sign of the fixed stand of the Cuban party and government to invariably develop relations,” the North Korean state media said.
On Sunday night, Diaz-Canel and his wife also attended a musical performance in Pyongyang with Kim and the first lady of North Korea.
At the concert, the most recognized ensembles of the Asian country performed, such as the Samjiyon orchestra, the electronic band Moranbong and the Wangjaesan artistic ensemble, while both North Korean and Cuban songs were performed, among them “Guantanamera” or “Cuba yes, Yankees no.”
North Korea and Cuba have maintained close relations since they entered into diplomatic ties for the first time in 1960.
The Cuban president visits Pyonyang as part of an international tour that began on Nov. 1 with the first stop in Russia and will continue until Nov. 12 with visits to China, Vietnam and Laos.