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Kim Jong Il still wants to be friends with Mubarak

From Washington to Ankara, all of Hosni Mubarak’s old friends seem to be throwing him under the bus. Even Fidel Castro says it’s time for him to go. But there is one world leader still, apparently, firmly in the pro-Mubarak camp:  North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il sent a new year’s greeting to Egyptian President Hosni ...

Korean Central Television/Yonhap via Getty Image
Korean Central Television/Yonhap via Getty Image

From Washington to Ankara, all of Hosni Mubarak’s old friends seem to be throwing him under the bus. Even Fidel Castro says it’s time for him to go. But there is one world leader still, apparently, firmly in the pro-Mubarak camp

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il sent a new year’s greeting to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency reported over the weekend, confirming the closeness of four decades of military and commercial ties. Mr. Kim offered the greeting to Mr. Mubarak on the occasion of the lunar New Year, celebrated last week in North and South Korea as well as China and Vietnam, amid fast-growing protest in Cairo against Mubarak’s rule.

The greeting was seen here as evidence of North Korea’s decades of support.

The Christian Science Monitor‘s Donald Kirk provides some background on the relationship: 

North Korea over the years has trained Egyptian pilots, sold missiles to Egypt, provided the technology for Egypt to fabricate its own missiles, and turned its embassy in Cairo into the hub for military sales throughout the region.

The relationship grew even while Egypt was developing close ties with the United States after the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in 1979. Egypt was seen as a close friend of the United States even as Mubarak visited Pyongyang three times in the 1980s and a fourth time in 1990 in search of military and commercial deals.

 Twitter: @joshuakeating
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