South Korea establishes diplomatic ties with Cuba, North Korea’s old friend

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 8:12 AM

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea has established diplomatic relations with Cuba, one of North Korea’s Cold War-era allies, the South Korean foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

With their United Nations representatives exchanging letters in New York, the two countries have agreed to open diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, the ministry said in a statement.

Cuba continues to maintain close relations with North Korea, which were established in 1960, with their shared socialist ideology and their hostility towards the United States helping to bind them together. Cuba maintains an embassy in Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called late Cuban leader Fidel Castro a “comrade-in-arms”, according to North Korean state media. North Korea observed three days of official mourning in 2016 when Castro died aged 90.

The new diplomatic ties between Seoul and Havana mark an “important turnaround” for South Korea in its efforts to strengthen its diplomacy in the Latin American region, the foreign ministry said in its statement.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Gareth Jones)