April 12, 2017 11:55
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have exchanged congratulatory messages amid pressure from an increasingly belligerent U.S.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday said Assad sent congratulatory messages to Kim on the 105th birthday of regime founder Kim Il-sung on April 15 and on the leader's own anniversary of becoming first secretary of the Workers Party on April 11 and as chairman of the Defense Commission on April 13.
It quoted Assad as saying, "The friendly two countries are... conducting a war against big powers' wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy and deprive them out of their rights to self-determination."
Kim in turn sent a congratulatory message to Assad on the 70th anniversary of Syria's ruling Ba'ath party last Thursday, just as international outrage over his use of chemical weapons in the civil war reached boiling point.
The North has provided Syria with missile and other weapons technology since the 1970s.
"Kim and Assad seem to have reaffirmed their united front against the U.S.," said Choi Kyung-hee at Hanyang University.
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