Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited longtime partner North Korea to meet with leader Kim Jon Un Saturday for a celebration of nearly 55 years of bilateral diplomatic relations, Cuban official media said.
Diaz-Canel's visit to North Korea was the third stop on an official trip that began in Russia and then continued in China, where he attended the massive Beijing military parade commemorating the end of World War II.
The Cuban and North Korean leaders praised the "excellent state of bilateral ties, characterized by close cooperation and mutual support in multiple spheres," reported the Cuban news agency. Cuba's daily newspaper Granma ran a front-page story with news of the meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, and reported that Kim had sent "affectionate greetings" to Fidel Castro and President Raul Castro, according to Fox News Latino.
Diaz-Canel was accompanied on the official visit by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra and ambassador to Pyongyang, German Ferras. Kim held a concert after the meeting in honor of the guests, Latin American news site Prensa Latina reported.
Cuba has an embassy in Pyongyang, and the two countries have maintained a relationship since the 1960 Cuban missile crisis. Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guerra went to North Korea that year and proclaimed the country a model for the Cuban people; Fidel Castro paid the country a visit in 1986.
In the last few years, North Korean government representatives have visited Cuba. The North Korean state news agency announced in July 2013 that senior military officials went to Cuba to discuss "boosting the friendly relations between the two armies." Representatives also visited again in 2015 when North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong and the ruling party's International Relations Secretary Kang Sok-su were invited to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro.
The two countries have also agreed to strengthen economic relations. In an October 2014 agreement, they signed new accords on trade and payments in relation to education, oil and agriculture.