North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has issued a congratulatory message to Queen Elizabeth II amidst celebrations in the UK marking her 70th year on the throne, Bloomberg reported.
The message, which was sent by North Korea's Foreign Ministry on June 2 to the UK's 96-year-old monarch, read:
"I extend my congratulations to you and your people on the occasion of the National Day of your country, the official birthday of Your Majesty."
Queen Elizabeth II previously congratulated North Korea on 2021, during its national day
AP News reported that both North Korea and the UK established diplomatic relations in 2000 and have maintained embassies in Pyongyang and London.
Starting from 2001, North Korea began sending greetings to the Queen, with most of these being issued by the president of the presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Yong Nam, Bloomberg further reported.
In 2021, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Queen had sent a letter of congratulations to North Korea on its national day, CNN reported.
The spokesperson added that this was standard practice and that the Queen, when dealing with other Heads of State, has always acted on the advice of the UK's Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
A second spokesperson for the FCDO also highlighted that 2021 was not the first time the Queen had sent a letter of congratulations to North Korea on its national day.
Bloomberg reported that 2021 was the first time, however, that North Korea mentioned the Queen's letter in its media.
North Korea's state media KCNA reported that the Queen's message read, "As the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea celebrate their National Day, I send my good wishes for the future," according to CNN.
Common diplomatic practice
Shawn Ho, an Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told Mothership that the congratulatory message sent by Kim was "not unusual" as it is within common diplomatic practice to do so. He added that Kim had probably sent the message to the Queen as a sort of "reciprocity" after the monarch sent a congratulatory letter on the isolated country's national day last year.
He added that even without an active diplomatic presence from the UK in Pyongyang since the British embassy closed temporarily in May 2020 amid strict Covid restrictions, there are still ways for both countries to communicate, such as through the North Korean embassy in London and other official channels that remain open.
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