According to an article published in the North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun, Assad recently “received credentials” from Ambassador Mun Jong Nam to visit North Korea for a personal meeting with leader Kim Jong-un.
In a statement, Assad praised Kim’s ongoing diplomatic offensive towards the United States and South Korea, that many believe could bring an end to decades of open hostility and the removal of the regime’s nuclear weapons program.
“I am going to visit the DPRK and meet HE [His Excellency] Kim Jong Un,” Assad said. “The world welcomes the remarkable events in the Korean peninsula brought about recently by the outstanding political caliber and wise leadership of HE Kim Jong Un.”
“I am sure that he will achieve the final victory and realize the reunification of Korea without fail,” he continued. “The Syrian government will as ever fully support all policies and measures of the DPRK leadership and invariably strengthen and develop the friendly ties with the DPRK.”
Syria and North Korea have maintained close diplomatic relations since the 1960s, keeping foreign embassies in both Damascus in Pyongyang. Some accounts have even reported North Korean troops fighting alongside the Syrian Arab in the country’s ongoing civil war.
In February, Assad announced his intention to develop closer ties with Kim’s regime based on “solid and deep-rooted foundations of friendship and cooperation.”
North Korea has vowed to provide “all types of support” to Assad’s troops in the ongoing conflict, while Assad also awarded North Korea’s ambassador in Damascus, Jang Myong Ho, Syria’s ‘Order of Merit of Excellent Degree’ to honor his work in developing relations between the two countries.
If Assad’s trip takes place, he will become the first foreign head of state welcomed by the Kim regime inside North Korea. However, the timing of his visit remains unclear, with President Donald Trump also scheduled to meet Kim in Singapore later this month to discuss peace initiatives between the two nations.