Report: Bashar al-Assad to visit Kim Jong Un in North Korea

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is set to visit North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, North Korean media reported Sunday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received credentials to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in North Korea, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. Photo by SANA/EPA
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received credentials to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in North Korea, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. Photo by SANA/EPA

North Korean state news agency Korean Central News Agency reported Assad received credentials to visit Kim in North Korea, but didn’t specify a date for a meeting.

“The world welcomes the remarkable events in the Korean peninsula brought about recently by the outstanding political caliber and wise leadership of [His Excellency] Kim Jong Un,” Assad is quoted as saying. “I am sure that he will achieve the final victory and realize the reunification of Korea without fail.”

Assad also pledged to “fully support all policies and measures” of North Korea’s government and further strengthen the relationship between the two countries, the report states.

Syrian state media didn’t report about the planned meeting, but both countries have had a long history of friendly relations and Kim reached out to Assad to express “enthusiastic congratulations” to the Syrian dictator on the 72nd anniversary of Syrian independence in April.

The report of Assad’s visit comes after U.S. President Trump said Friday he would go forward with a scheduled meeting with Kim in Singapore on June 12 after canceling it a week earlier over “tremendous anger and open hostility” from Pyongyang.

Kim placed an increased focus on international diplomacy in recent months, meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Pyongyang on Thursday.

He also met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a second time on May 26 and discussed denuclearization with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing in March.

By Daniel Uria