Cuba and South Korea resume diplomatic relations

Cuba and South Korea resume diplomatic relations

Cuba, North Korea's historic ally, announced Wednesday it would resume diplomatic relations with South Korea.

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“On February 14, 2024, diplomatic and consular relations were established between the Republic of Cuba and the Republic of Korea,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement.

According to a press release at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the restoration of these relations took place through an exchange of diplomatic notes between the missions of both countries.

Seoul and Havana established diplomatic relations in 1949, but these were severed after the Castro Revolution in 1959. Cuba then turned to North Korea, another communist country with which the island has had relations since the 1960s.

Despite the lack of diplomatic relations, Cuba and South Korea, the world's tenth economic power, have maintained trade relations for several years.

According to a study published in 2021 by the International Policy Research Center, a Cuban research organization, economic relations particularly concern the sectors of automobiles, electronic devices and mobile telephony.

According to this study, since 2005, a South Korean trade investment promotion office has opened a permanent mission in Havana and extended a $70 million credit line to Cuba.

In the conflict between Pyongyang and Seoul, Havana has always advocated a negotiated solution to the crisis on the Korean peninsula, which has been divided since the end of the Second World War.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang in 2018. That same year, two high-ranking North Korean dignitaries visited Havana.

The occasion celebrated the “excellent relations between the two peoples, parties and governments” based on the “historic relationship between” Kim Il Sung, the North Korean leader who died in 1994, and Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, who died in the year 2016.