KCNA: North Korea's Choe Ryong Hae offers condolences at Fidel Castro funeral

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Dec. 1, 2016 at 2:29 PM
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SEOUL, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A North Korean delegation led by top official Choe Ryong Hae expressed condolences for the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on the island, according to Pyongyang's state media.

KCNA reported the delegation offered a message of consolation on Tuesday at the National Theater of Cuba, and a wreath from leader Kim Jong Un was delivered to the site.

The North Korean officials also observed a moment of silence in remembrance of Castro, who died Friday at age 90.

North Korea stated Choe met with Cuban Vice President Salvador Valdes Mesa on Wednesday and delivered a message from Kim for Cuban President Raul Castro.

The death of Fidel Castro has become a widely reported event in the relatively isolated country.

North Korea had ordered a three-day mourning period for Castro, according to Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, and Kim described Castro as a "close friend and comrade of the Korean people."

Choe's visit to Cuba has also provided Pyongyang with an opportunity to renew diplomatic efforts with Cuba, a country that first established ties with Pyongyang in 1960 and maintains a friendship that survived the Cold War.

As recently as June, the Cuban vice president traveled to North Korea as a special envoy and met with Choe in Pyongyang.

KCNA also reported a high school in Cuba named after North Korean leader Kim Il Sung opened a new library named after Kim Jong Suk, the North Korea founder's first wife.

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