Britain’s King Charles has congratulated North Korea on its 75th anniversary, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported. “I send you my best wishes for the future as residents of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea celebrate their National Day,” the message reportedly read.
Charles continues a diplomatic practice of his mother with the message. The message is identical to one that Queen Elizabeth sent to the Korean people in the past on the country’s national holiday. North Korea exposed that practice in 2021.
A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office confirmed that congratulations had already been sent to the country on behalf of the Queen several times. Such messages are coordinated and written by the ministry.
Diplomatic relations under pressure
The United Kingdom and North Korea have had diplomatic relations since 2000. However, the relationship has long been under strain due to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The British embassy in Pyongyang is closed due to strict corona restrictions for foreigners in the country.
Although Elizabeth’s message was surprising at the time because of Pyongyang’s hostile attitude toward the West, Korea experts pointed out that the message was explicitly addressed to the Korean people, not to dictator Kim Jong-un. It was also noted that such rapprochement undermines the regime’s view that the West is the archenemy of the Korean people.
Celebrated big time
North Korea on Saturday celebrated the 75th year of the Kim dynasty, which began with Kim Il-sung, the current leader’s grandfather. There were wreath laying ceremonies and a large parade, with representatives of allies such as China and Russia also present. Kim also presented a submarine that could launch nuclear warheads.
Several other countries congratulated the country, which is internationally regarded as a pariah because of its nuclear program. The messages mainly came from countries in the East Asian region, such as Singapore, Nepal and Bangladesh, supplemented by mainly African countries such as Congo, Namibia, Mozambique and Senegal.
Besides King Charles, only one other Western head of state is mentioned in KCNA’s overview: King Carl Gustaf of Sweden. “In honor of the anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, I convey to Your Excellency my best wishes for the future and well-being of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the Swedish king’s message read, according to the propaganda channel.
- North Korea celebrates 75th anniversary of Kim dynasty
- North Korea launches submarine for nuclear attack
- First passenger flight from North Korea landed in Beijing after three years of isolation