Closer South Korea-Cuba ties lesson for North Korea

2024.02.16 15:05:12 | 2024.02.16 16:18:26

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (L) holding talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, in Havana on June 5, 2016. [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (L) holding talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, in Havana on June 5, 2016. [Photo by Yonhap]



South Korea recently took a step closer to building diplomatic relations with Cuba, one of North Korea’s Cold War allies. The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday it has agreed to open ambassador-level relations with Cuba following a meeting between their United Nations representatives in New York.

For South Korea, the move goes beyond just adding another state to the country’s list of diplomatic allies, as Cuba has maintained relations with North Korea since 1959.

Analysts said Cuba’s economic needs was one of the driving forces behind its opening of diplomatic ties with South Korea. The duo initiated economic ties with a memorandum of understanding signed between the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and Cuba in 2002, and the recent development is expected to further increase trade volumes between the two countries.

Unlike his Latin American counterpart, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remains obsessed with weapon demonstrations and provocative threats of nuclear conflicts toward Seoul. Kim recently dialed up tensions on the Korean Peninsula by ordering his military to strengthen its readiness in waters north of the South Korean border islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong.

Their leader’s obsession with weapon demonstrations has continued to force North Korean residents into despair and destructive poverty. According to a recent paper published by the Ministry of Unification, more than seven in ten North Korean residents are struggling as food supplies from the authorities dry up. In addition, as much as 37.6 percent of industrial facilities in the region run their operations less than six hours a day thanks to electricity and raw materials shortages.

North Korea spends up to 1.6 billion won ($1.2 million) on nuclear missile programs, which analysts said is equivalent to the funds making up for the public food shortages over the last four years.

The lesson from Cuba is that bread-and-butter issues matter most to people and communities. North Korea should keep that lesson in mind, and stop endangering its desperate people as well as carrying out dangerous provocations.

By Editorial Team

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