June 23, 2015 12:11
Two senior North Korean officials left Pyongyang on Monday to visit their country's few remaining allies. Kang Sok-ju, the secretary for international affairs at the Workers Party, left for Cuba, and Choe Tae-bok, the chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, went to Russia.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency did not say why Kang and Choe are visiting Cuba and Russia, but just reporting the trips was a departure from the norm.
Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong already arrived in Beijing last Thursday en route to Africa.
Pundits believe their trips are part of attempts to break the North’s diplomatic isolation.
"It seems that the North has given up on dialogue with South Korea for the time being because it feels it has little to gain from dealing with the Park Geun-hye administration," Lee Soo-seok of the Institute for National Security Strategy said.
Prof. Nam Sung-wook of Korea University said, "Kang is visiting Cuba in a bid to strengthening ties with its ally out of concern that South Korea will establish ties with Cuba now that Washington has shown the way."
Prof. Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University said the regime is also trying to mend relations with Moscow after Kim Jong-un canceled a visit for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The officials may also be asking for aid after a devastating drought in North Korea.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com