North Korea, Cuba in ‘Same Trench’ Against US: Minister Reply

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong (L) shakes hands with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez upon arriving at the Foreign Ministry in Havana, on March 16, 2015

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong (L) shakes hands with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez upon arriving at the Foreign Ministry in Havana, on March 16, 2015

By AFP

North Korea and Cuba share the same struggle against US aggression, Pyongyang’s foreign minister said Monday as Washington and Havana held new talks on restoring diplomatic ties.

In a visit to Havana that coincided with the latest round of talks on normalizing US-Cuban relations, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong played up the two communist regimes’ history of enmity toward the United States.

North Korea and Cuba “share a history of fighting together in the same trench against American imperialism, which continues to exert economic pressure on our countries to this day,” Ri was quoted as saying by Cuba’s state-run news agency Prensa Latina.

Ri also “highlighted the excellent relations” between the two communist countries and gave his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez “a message from leader Kim Jong-Un expressing his wish to broaden and strengthen (relations) even more,” said the news agency.

Rodriguez reiterated Cuba’s commitment to peacefully reuniting North and South Korea “without foreign interference,” Prensa Latina said.

The visit came as US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson met her Cuban counterpart Josefina Vidal, Havana’s top diplomat for US affairs, for a third round of talks to advance a possible US-Cuban rapprochement announced on December 17.

The thaw threatens to leave North Korea as the last country still ostracized by the United States over Cold War-era grudges.

Ri’s visit, the first by a North Korean official since the US-Cuba talks, came amid heightened tensions with South Korea and the United States over their annual joint military drills, which Pyongyang condemns as rehearsals for invasion.

North Korea responded last week by firing surface-to-air missiles into the sea off its coast.

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