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Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel will make an official state visit to North Korea following a visit to Russia on November 1, Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez was reported to have said during a press conference in Havana on Wednesday.
President Díaz-Canel will also visit China, Laos, and Vietnam during his upcoming trip, though the foreign minister did not specify the dates or the specific order of the stops.
It will be Díaz-Canel’s first trip outside the Americas since becoming Cuban President in April this year, having traveled to New York for the UN General Assembly in late September.
He has visited North Korea before, however, having traveled to Pyongyang and met Kim Jong Un in his capacity as Cuban Vice President back in 2015.
His visit will also mark the first by a Cuban head of state to Pyongyang since a visit by Fidel Castro in 1986. No North Korean leader has ever visited Havana.
The most recent high-level North Korean visit to Cuba came in July, when vice-chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Ri Su Yong met in Havana with Díaz-Canel, former president Raúl Castro, and others.
Ri conveyed greetings from Kim Jong Un, discussed the two countries’ “historic relations of friendship and cooperation” with his counterparts, and signed an “agreement on exchange and cooperation” with the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).
DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong Ho also traveled to Havana last November, where talks were largely focused on reaffirming bilateral ties amid a pressure campaign by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Cuba and the DPRK have enjoyed a long history of friendly relations as communist allies, with a recent article in North Korean state outlet Pyongyang Times describing them as “old comrades-in-arms and close friends with the strong spirit of independence against imperialism, high fighting efficiency and great fidelity.”
The two have also maintained trade ties amid an enhanced UN sanctions regime in recent years, inking a barter-based trade deal in 2016.
Cuba’s foreign minister on Wednesday did not provide further details of Díaz-Canel’s trip to the DPRK, or say whether he is expected to meet Kim Jong Un.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Presidencia El Salvador