North Korea officials embark on rare public visit to Iran

Yun Jong-ho speaks during a meeting with Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov (not pictured) in Pyongyang, North Korea, on November 15, 2023. (Photo/Reuters)

A North Korean delegation led by the cabinet minister for international trade is visiting Iran, the North's official media has said in a rare public report of an exchange between the two countries believed to have secret military ties.

The minister for external economic relations, Yun Jong-ho, left Pyongyang on Tuesday by air leading a ministry delegation to visit Iran, the North's KCNA news agency said early on Wednesday.

It gave no other detail.

US and its Western allies suspect North Korea and Iran of cooperating on ballistic missile programmes, possibly exchanging technical expertise and components that went into their manufacture.

Iran has provided a large number of ballistic missiles to Russia for use in its war with Ukraine, according to Western media and officials. Tehran denies "baseless" claims.

The Western allies accuse North Korea of supplying Russia with missiles and artillery, allegations Pyongyang denies.

Yun has previously worked on the country's ties with Syria, according to South Korean government database.

Yun has been active in the country's increasing exchanges with Russia, earlier this month leading a delegation to visit Moscow, according to KCNA.

Iran-Israel tensions

The visit comes as both Iran and Israel, regional arch-rivals locked in a shadow war for years, are trying to manage their new tensions following a series of escalatory attacks between them as Israel's war on Gaza rages on and inflames the wider Middle East region.

Iran recently launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles that sought to overwhelm Israel's air defences in the April 13 attack — the first on Israel by a foreign power since Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles at Israel in the 1991 Gulf War.

Israeli air defences and fighter jets, backed by the US, the United Kingdom and neighbouring Jordan, claimed to have shot down the vast majority of the incoming fire.

Iran's attack came in response to an Israeli strike on April 1 targeting an Iranian consular building next to its embassy in Damascus, Syria, which killed seven Iranians and others.


Source: TRT