Abbas Praises North Korean Freedom Fighters in Friendly Telegram to Kim

In a congratulatory message sent on National Liberation Day, Mahmoud Abbas notes that North Korea supports the Palestinian struggle for self-determination

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Olivier Douliery, Pool via Bloomberg / Wong Maye, AP

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a congratulatory telegram to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in honor of National Liberation Day on Tuesday, a North Korean holiday commemorating the country’s victory over Japan.

In the telegram, which comes in the midst of a crisis between North Korea and the United States, Abbas said that the North Korean people fought for their freedom and sacrificed much for their principles. He noted that the hermit nation supports the struggle of the Palestinian people for its freedom, self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas’ message, which was reported by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa and on Palestinian television, is only one of many other telegrams sent by the Palestinian leader’s office to foreign countries, which include India, Pakistan, South Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, Dr. Ahmed Majdalani, told Haaretz that the PLO and North Korea have maintained a relationship for decades. According to Majdalani, ties formed in 1974 and in 1988, North Korea recognized the Palestinian state. Majdalani added that the Palestinians have a diplomatic mission in North Korea. 

“We are not a party to this conflict and our positions are not determined by the position of the United States. This is a telegram that the president has sent for many years now to the leader of North Korea. The fact that someone is trying to make an issue out of this is his problem,” Majdalani said.