Mentions of Cuba in N. Korean media abruptly halt after establishment of Seoul
2024-07-18 06:55:30

 Choe Ryong-hae,<strong></strong> right, chairman of North Korea's Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly,  receives credentials from the Cuban Ambassador to North Korea Eduardo Luis Correa Garcia in Pyongyang, North Korea, Jan. 31. Yonhap

Choe Ryong-hae, right, chairman of North Korea's Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, receives credentials from the Cuban Ambassador to North Korea Eduardo Luis Correa Garcia in Pyongyang, North Korea, Jan. 31. Yonhap

By Kim Hyun-bin

North Korean media outlets are no longer mentioning Cuba whatsoever since the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between South Korea and the Caribbean nation on Feb. 14.

Speculation is rising that Pyongyang is not happy with the unexpected move by Cuba, which has long been considered a close ally of North Korea. The forging of diplomatic relations with South Korea, a country labeled as its "number one hostile state," leaves no ambiguity regarding the North's stance.

The Rodong Sinmun, a newspaper widely regarded as the voice of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, last featured news related to Cuba on Feb. 15, a day after the announcement of diplomatic relations between Seoul and Havana.

Previously, the Rodong Sinmun routinely covered various aspects of North Korea's relationship with Cuba, including events at the North Korean Embassy in Cuba, expressions of solidarity from Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, speeches by Cuban ambassadors at the United Nations and tributes to Cuban hero Jose Marti.

However, since the announcement of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Cuba, there has been a notable absence of any mention of Cuba in the newspaper.

"Although economic cooperation between Cuba and North Korea might have been limited, the mutual reliance and cooperation between the two socialist countries were substantial. From this perspective, I believe North Korea would have been considerably shaken," said Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies.

Furthermore, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), another key state media outlet in North Korea, has not reported on any developments. This absence of coverage extends to significant events, such as the celebration of the 82nd birthday of Kim Jong-il, which was celebrated at its diplomatic missions in 26 countries along with visits by various dignitaries on Feb. 23 and 24, where once again, Cuba was notably absent from the reports.

It is unprecedented for the KCNA to exclude Cuba, especially in reports about major events like Kim Jong-il's birthday, considered the paramount national holiday in North Korea. In the past, events related to Cuba were prominently featured, with highlights on participants and speeches.

"Looking back at history, in the 1990s, when diplomatic relations were established between South Korea and China, and between South Korea and Russia, North Korea found itself somewhat isolated. Despite initial reluctance, diplomatic ties were eventually acknowledged by North Korea," Yang said.

"Reflecting on this, the recent establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Cuba may be seen as a situation North Korea has no choice but to accept. It could potentially serve as an opportunity for North Korea to strengthen its cooperation with China and Russia."

(作者:汽车音响)