North Korea Expresses ‘Firm Support and Solidarity’ to Maduro’s Venezuela

Kim Jong-un and NIcolas Maduro
STR/AFP/Getty Images/Wil Riera/Bloomberg

The communist dictatorship in North Korea has expressed its “firm support and solidarity” to Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela in a message published in its state media arm this week.

In a message published on state media, North Korea congratulated the Maduro regime on the founding of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and expressed the belief that the two countries would see a stronger relationship due to their common goals.

“The Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea sent a message of greeting to the National Leadership of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela on Thursday on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its founding,” state media claimed. “The message expressed the firm support and solidarity to the struggle of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela for defending the sovereignty of the country and the social and political stability under the banner of the Bolivarian revolution.”

“It wished the party greater success in its activities, expressing belief that the solidarity and cooperative relations between the two parties will grow stronger in the common struggle for independence and socialism against imperialism,” it concluded.

Although traditionally the two countries have not held close ties, the prospect of a strengthened relationship would make sense given that both governments are finding themselves as increasingly isolated actors on the world stage. Both nations are also allies of the Iranian dictatorship, communist Cuba, and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who could serve as intermediaries bringing the nations together.

With North Korea repeatedly threatening nuclear war against the United States and the Maduro regime’s transforming Venezuela into a totalitarian dictatorship, the Trump administration has imposed tough economic sanctions on the two countries, leaving them both eager to establish political and trade ties with common allies.

In the face of economic sanctions and political isolation, Venezuela has turned to the far east for closer ties with China and Russia, while North Korea has recently built up greater ties to despots in Africa in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

However, loose ties between Venezuela and North Korea date back to the days of Hugo Chávez, who refused to condemn the country’s nuclear program and even arranged plans to meet with former leader Kim Jong-il, although the meeting never materialized.

In 2014, North Korea unveiled plans to open an embassy in Caracas, with North Korea’s ambassador to Venezuela, Ri Sung Gil, regularly participating in government-sponsored events that have included celebrating the birthday of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung.

In a speech decrying the “continued struggle against imperialism,” Ri added that the two countries now “have agreements in different areas of the economy, culture, sports, ecology, and science, among others.”

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