DPRK FM in high-level meetings in Cuba after sanctions imposed

World Today

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, holds talks with his DPRK counterpart, Ri Yong-ho.

As the United States steps up sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a bid to further isolate it internationally, the DPRK’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho visited Cuba, where on Wednesday he held talks his Cuban counterpart.

CGTN’s Michael Voss was there.

According to Cuban officials, the foreign minister of the DPRK arrived here on Monday but there has been no word at all about what his agenda has been up until now.

Ri Yong-ho’s first public meeting came Wednesday morning when he arrived at the foreign ministry in Havana for talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez. This meeting comes as both countries face deteriorating relations with the United States.

The DPRK is under growing international pressure to end its nuclear and missile programs. This week U.S. President Donald Trump placed the DPRK back on its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, a move criticized by Cuba.

“I express our energetic rejection of the unilateral certifications and blacklists established by the government of the United States,” Cuba’s foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez told his counterpart.

“Cuba calls for stability and peace in the Korean Peninsula. We consider that only through dialogue and negotiations can a lasting political solution be achieved,” Rodriguez added.

Ri Yong-ho spoke of their shared problems:

“The reason is that both countries (the DPRK and Cuba) are constructing socialism under the cruel pressures and blockade by the imperialists.”

Cuba for its part was taken off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list by former U.S. President Barack Obama, but it’s now facing new restrictions of trade and travel from the United States.

Both countries have been close politically since the early days of the Cuban revolution, establishing diplomatic relations back in 1960. Cuba is one of the very few countries which does not have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea. There is very little trade between the two countries and this visit appears to be more about showing solidarity in the face of outside pressure.