North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth II, congratulating her on the 70th anniversary of her ascension to the throne, the North's foreign ministry said. File Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo
SEOUL, June 3 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth II, congratulating the British monarch on the 70th anniversary of her ascension to the throne amid a four-day Platinum Jubilee celebration, Pyongyang said.
"I extend my congratulations to you and your people on the occasion of the National Day of your country, the official birthday of Your Majesty," the letter said, according to a statement by North Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday.
Buckingham Palace acknowledged receiving the letter, saying in a statement that the private message is "in line with standard practice of receiving messages from countries with whom we have diplomatic relations," according to The Mirror.
North Korea and Britain established diplomatic ties in 2000 and continue to maintain embassies in Pyongyang and London. In September, the Queen sent a message to Kim, congratulating the people of North Korea on the 73rd anniversary of the country's founding.
Kim's letter was a rare episode of cordiality with the West in recent years, as the secretive regime has ramped up its weapons program and appears poised to conduct its first nuclear detonation since 2017.
Pyongyang has conducted 17 rounds of weapons tests so far this year, with its most recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile coming just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden concluded a visit to South Korea and Japan.
Washington has been seeking a new round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang over the provocations, with its latest effort vetoed last week by China and Russia.
The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebration kicked off Thursday with pomp and pageantry including a 1,400-troop military parade and aircraft flyover.