Middle East

Syria urges bilateral cooperation with North Korea in face of US sanctions

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has called for closer bilateral cooperation with North Korea in the face of economic sanctions and punitive measures imposed by the United States against the two countries.

During a meeting with his North Korean counterpart Pak Myong-gu and his accompanying entourage in the Syrian capital city of Damascus on Wednesday, Mekdad pointed to the deeply-rooted relations between the two states in different economic, military and political arenas.

The senior Syrian official then stressed the need for stronger Damascus-Pyongyang interaction to confront unilateral economic measures slapped by the United States against their respective nations.

Mekdad also censured US disrespect for its obligations under talks with North Korea over sanctions and denuclearization.

US President Donald Trump and his team held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his encourage in the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi in February.

The talks ended abruptly and a joint-signing ceremony was cancelled. Trump asserted that North Korea’s demand that the US lift economic sanctions in their entirety forced his team to walk away from reaching an agreement. North Korean officials denied the accusations, arguing that Americans acted in “bad faith.”

Pak, for his part, said his country attaches great importance to its ties with Syria, and always stands by Syria and supports its stances at various international forums.

The North Korean official then strongly condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory, emphasizing that Pyongyang considers the Golan Heights as occupied Syrian land.

He also praised victories scored by Syrian army soldiers and Syrian nation in the fight against Western-sponsored terrorism, noting that North Korea is eager to participate in the reconstruction of Syria.

Early last December, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho traveled to Syria, where he met with President Bashar al-Assad and other officials. The two sides promised to “improve relations in all fields, particularly politics and economy” and jointly “confront challenges and unjust sanctions.”

Ri, not having directly named the United States during the talks, said North Korea and Syria face “the same enemy, which requires increased coordination to be confronted.”

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