North Korea's Kim Yong-chol (L), vice chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea central committee, meets with Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana on May 24, 2016, to discuss ways to boost their cooperative relations, in this photo released by the North's Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent a message to congratulate Raul Castro, former secretary of Cuba's communist party, on his 90th birthday, stressing his role in strengthening relations between the two countries, state media said Friday.
"Our party and people always remember and appreciate the great contributions made by Raul Castro Ruz to strengthening the genuine comradely unity and the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two parties and the two countries," Kim said in the message, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim also called Castro "a close friend and revolutionary comrade-in-arms of the Korean people" and wished him good health and happiness, the KCNA said.
In April, Raul Castro stepped down from first secretary of the ruling communist party, yielding control to President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
North Korea and Cuba have maintained close relations since establishing diplomatic ties in 1960.
Pyongyang has been seeking to maintain closer ties with its traditional allies amid an impasse in nuclear negotiations with Washington. (Yonhap)