North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Sends Condolences to Japan and Iran Following Recent Disasters

SEOUL: In a rare diplomatic gesture, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has extended condolences to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida regarding the recent deadly earthquakes in western Japan. The message, reported by state media on Saturday, is seen as an unusual move by the North Korean leader, suggesting an attempt to present himself as a global leader.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim Jong-un sent the message on Friday, expressing "deep sympathy" and "condolences" for the casualties and destruction caused by the earthquakes that occurred at the start of the year. The KCNA's English-language dispatch stated, "The message sincerely hoped that the people in the affected areas would eradicate the aftermath of earthquakes and restore their stable life at the earliest date possible." It is uncommon for North Korea, particularly its reclusive leader, to send such messages to countries with which it has strained or minimal relations.

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Ishikawa prefecture on New Year's Day, followed by a series of aftershocks. Reports indicate that at least 94 people were killed as a result of these seismic events.

In addition to the message to Japan, Kim Jong-un also sent a separate condolence message to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi the same day. This message was in response to the deadly terrorist bomb attacks in Iran earlier this week. The attacks occurred in Iran's southeastern city of Kerman during a ceremony commemorating Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the United States in 2020. The bombings resulted in at least 84 fatalities.

scroll to top