North Korea, Cuba vow to strengthen ties

Cuba, N Korea reject 'unilateral and arbitrary' US demands

North Korea, Cuba strengthen ties, agree to reject 'unilateral & arbitrary' US pressure

The DPRK government delegation, headed by foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, departed last week to Cuba for a state visit.

Several Cuban officials from the Foreign Ministry accompanied Rodriguez at the meeting.

The ministers, meeting in Havana, called for "respect for peoples' sovereignty" and "the peaceful settlement of disputes", according to a statement released by the Cuban foreign ministry.

"[North Korea and Cuba] strongly reject the unilateral and arbitrary lists and designations established by the USA government which serve as a basis for the implementation of coercive measures which are contrary to worldwide law". With tensions accelerating on the Korean peninsula, N. Korea's FM flew to Cuba to present a united front against "US imperialism".

Cuba was designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1981, but was removed from the list in May 2015 amid a thawing of relations between Havana and Washington.

Ri also raised the "acute situation" on the Korean peninsula and accused the US of "imperialist military maneuvers".

Havana and Pyongyang have agreed to strengthen ties to withstand Washington's "unilateral and arbitrary" demands.

Chinese publication Xinhua reported that Rodriguez also rejected the inclusion of North Korea in the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism only two days ago by the Trump administration.

The declaration comes against the backdrop of a Trump threat to deliver "total destruction" to North Korea.

A spokesperson of the DPRK Foreign Ministry issued a statement this June "strongly" denouncing the "new policy of the USA towards Cuba".

"The reason is that both countries (the DPRK and Cuba) are constructing socialism under the cruel pressures and blockade by the imperialists".

Russian Federation s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to meet with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono during his visit to Russian Federation on Friday and plans to discuss the situation in North Korea crisis, Zakharova said.

Choe previously held talks with Cuban Vice-President Salvador Valdes Mesa in August a year ago, local media reported.

The foreign minister made the statements in the wake of the joint US-South Korean drills that kicked off on November 11, with the South Korean military stating that the exercises are aimed at showing "military readiness to defeat any provocation by North Korea with dominant force".

Ri Su Yong, DPRK foreign minister at the time, also traveled to the country in March 2015 and held talks with Fidel Castro and Parrilla. He also continues to exchange belligerent rhetoric with N. Korean leader Kim Jung-un.

"In the brotherly encounter, both sides commented on the historic friendship between the two nations and talked about worldwide topics of mutual interest", Cuban state television said on its midday broadcast.

North Korea has maintained warm political relations with Cuba since 1960.

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