by WorldTribune Staff, September 13, 2017
In a rare message of condolence to a foreign leader, Kim Jong-Un sent his sympathies to Cuban dictator Raul Castro over the devastation caused in Cuba by Hurricane Irma.
“Receiving the news of the causalities and losses of many materials caused by the recent hurricane in the eastern and central areas of your country, I extend deep consolation and sympathy to you and, through you, to the Cuban government, people and residents in the afflicted areas,” Kim said in the message sent to Castro on Sept. 12.
The Rodong Sinmun, a daily of the ruling Workers’ Party, carried the message on its front page.
A North Korea analyst told Yonhap that the message from the North Korean leader was a departure from Pyongyang’s common practice, in which its titular leader Kim Yong-Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, has sent congratulatory or condolence messages to foreign leaders.
“Kim’s message seems to have taken the importance of the North’s diplomacy with Cuba into consideration as its diplomatic isolation in the Central and South Americas deepens in the wake of its sixth nuclear test, such as the recent expulsion of its ambassadors from Mexico and Peru,” said Chang Cheol-Woon, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies.
The message was just the third time that Kim Jong-Un has sent condolences to a foreign leader in his name, following one to Castro over hurricane damages in October 2012 and one to Syrian President Bashar Assad over the death of his mother in February 2016.