On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that, should North Korea attempt a nuclear attack against the United States, “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
In its Wednesday online edition, the Rodong Sinmun published a report updating the country on the travels of Kim Yong-nam, “president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea],” one of the nation’s top diplomats. Kim is currently in Tehran, invited to attend the inauguration of incumbent president Hassan Rouhani.
According to Rodong Sinmun, Kim held a conversation with nonagenarian Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe in which the latter stated that he “highly appreciated that under the wise guidance of respected HE [His Excellency] Kim Jong Un the DPRK has turned into a military power with the powerful deterrence capable of defeating the U.S. trying to dominate the world.” Mugabe, the report claimed, told Kim that he had “learned from the example of the DPRK.”
The Rodong report noted that Kim also convened with a high-ranking Cuban official identified as Ulises Rosales Del Toro, also invited to attend Rouhani’s inauguration. “Noting that Cuba is resolutely opposing the U.S. sanctions and pressure against the DPRK, he expressed full support to the just steps of the DPRK for bolstering up defence capabilities including ICBM test-fires and achieving the prosperity of the country,” the report claims Rosales Del Toro said.
Kim Yong-nam reportedly left Tehran on Monday. Iran’s PressTV confirms his presence at the inauguration in a piece claiming that the high number of foreign dignitaries at the inauguration shows a rejection of the United States. Unfortunately for North Korea, Kim is relegated to a subsidiary paragraph listing “other senior guests” in the piece, along with the Cuban representative. The first paragraph lists only European guests; Robert Mugabe is not mentioned at all.
While North Korea has largely been ostracized by the free world, it is not an isolated nation, enjoying alliances with Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria, among other rogue nations. North Korea’s relationship with Iran has particularly raised alarm, as many fear that Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon could end once North Korea miniaturizes a nuclear warhead.
“Forget the Iran nuclear deal for a minute,” former U.N. ambassador John Bolton suggested in April, “it’s entirely foreseeable that the day North Korea gets the capability to drop a nuclear warhead on the United States via ballistic missile, Iran could have that capability the next day by writing a check in the right amount of money.”
Kim Yong-nam spent ten days in Iran, meeting with numerous high-ranking officials and arousing suspicion that the two nations have agreed to expand military cooperation.
The communist regime in Cuba has also remained a steadfast ally of Kim Jong-un. North Korea has condemned the Trump administration’s call to isolate and cease to enrich the Cuban military, while Cuba’s state media – which has referred to North Korea as “Democratic Korea” – has repeatedly condemned international sanctions against the Kim regime. Cuba and North Korea enjoy several intelligence-sharing agreements, including some involving military technology.
As Cuba maintains friendly relations with North Korea, so too does its colony in Venezuela, the socialist regime run by dictator Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela’s socialists have held ceremonies to honor Kim Il-sung, the founder of communist Korea, while both nations’ state media have extended greetings to each other’s states.
Kim Jong-un has also maintained friendly ties to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. “Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, sent a message of sympathy to Bashar Al-Assad, president of the Syrian Arab Republic, on Mar. 13 as regards the terrorism in Syria that caused huge casualties,” a Rodong article from March notes. North Korea later hosted members of the Syrian government’s “General Sports Union.”
Multiple reports have accused North Korea of aiding Assad not just morally, but with weapons and even militia units. North Korea has provided Syria weaponry since the rule of Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, and appears to have continued arming Assad’s forces.