Syrian President To Become First Head Of State To Meet Kim Jong Un In North Korea?

| June 4 , 2018 , 14:56 IST

The once-reclusive head of North Korea Kim Jong-Un has been increasing foreign visitations, beginning with the visit of a South Korean delegation in March this year.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is, however, planning to visit Kim Jong-Un in North Korea, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Monday, which would potentially make al-Assad the first head of state to visit Kim inside North Korea.

"I am going to visit the DPRK and meet... Kim Jong Un," North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA quoted Assad as saying, using the abbreviation for the official name of North Korea.

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"The world welcomes the remarkable events in the Korean peninsula brought about recently by the outstanding political calibre and wise leadership of... Kim Jong Un," Assad was quoted as saying during a meeting with North Korean Ambassador Mun Jong Nam.

Kim Jong-Un, since coming into power in 2011, has not met another head of state in North Korea and made his first trip overseas as leader of the nation this year only, when he travelled to ally nation China to visit President Xi Jinping in April.

For decades Pyongyang and Damascus have maintained warm ties and for some years have shared a military relationship as well, including during the ongoing Syrian civil war. The US and South Korea have also raised concerns in the past over suspicions of chemical weapons trade between North Korea and Syria.