Published : 2013-08-15 21:02
Updated : 2013-08-16 10:13
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro praised North Korea for providing free weapons at the end of the Cold War.
In an article published to mark Castro’s 87th birthday on Tuesday, he thanks late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung for the military support when the Soviet Union withdrew from the communist state’s territory, saying that Cuba should defend itself from the United States.
“A veteran and unimpeachable combatant sent us 100,000 AK rifles and (ammunition) without charging a cent,” he said.
Castro recalled that Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov told him “Cuba has to fight alone if it were attacked by the United States,” and he said that his country could take care of the invaders if the Soviet Union could supply weapons free of charge in the 1980s.
Castro also mentioned that he did not expect his life to be extended for another seven years after he suffered from a near-fatal illness. Castro led the country for 49 years of rule since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. His younger brother, Raul, took over leadership of the country when he fell ill in 2008, although the official power transfer was not until 2011.
On July 16, a North Korean cargo ship was seized near the Panama Canal with undeclared weapons, which Havana claimed were “obsolete” Soviet-era missiles. The ship was on its way back to Cuba from North Korea after undergoing repairs.
The two communist states held bilateral talks on the sidelines of a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War in Pyongyang.
“I have an extraordinarily good impression of the exchange of views, which will make possible the consolidation of ties and a broadening of mutual cooperation,” Jose Ramon Balaguer, the head of international relations of the Communist Party of Cuba, was quoted as saying, referring to the talks with North Korea.
By Park Han-na and news reports (email@example.com)