The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly – North Korea’s rubber-stamp legislature – has appointed Kang Sam Hyon as the new DPRK ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday.
Kang’s predecessor was Ambassador Jo In Chol, who held the post since May 2010.
Little is known about Kang, who does not appear to have been mentioned previously in Pyongyang’s state-controlled media.
The appointment of a new North Korean ambassador to Iran comes as Iran continues negotiations with the P-5+1 group – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany – over its nuclear program. North Korea, meanwhile, continues to consider itself officially a nuclear power and refuses to give up its nuclear weapons or facilities. The Six-Party Talks focused on North Korea’s nuclear program have been stalled since 2008.
Iran and North Korea first established diplomatic relations in 1973. But it was after Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 – when Iran switched from being an ally to an adversary of the U.S. – that the two countries began cooperating to a much greater extent, making this ambassadorial post one of the most important for Pyongyang. Ongoing cooperation between Iran and North Korea led to U.S. President George W. Bush including both countries in his “Axis of Evil” in 2002.
Much of North Korean-Iranian cooperation has involved arms trading and collaboration indeveloping weapons technology and sharing capabilities and knowhow. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), when Iran was fighting a U.S.-backed Iraq, North Korea supplied Iran with weapons and equipment including tanks, artillery and aircraft and also sent military advisers. During and after the war, North Korea and Iran cooperated closely on the development of ballistic missiles and nuclear technology.
Aside from missiles and nuclear capabilities, Iran and North Korea also appear to cooperate on asymmetric warfare. North Korea is believed to have provided weapons and training to groups supported by Iran – sometimes through or funded by Iran – such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Some have even suggested that Iran may have helped North Korea with its cyber warfare capabilities used in the recent hack of Sony Pictures.
Main picture: Composite from Wikimedia Commons
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 361 words of this article.