The state news agency of North Korea, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), reported that the president of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has sent a congratulatory message to Halimah Yacob upon her assumption of the office as president of Singapore on September 14.
The Supreme Leader of North Korea and his government expressed their “expectation that the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries would grow stronger on the principle of respect for sovereignty and mutual benefits.”
Singapore and the DPRK established diplomatic relations on 8 November 1975. The DPRK maintains an embassy in Singapore while Singapore has accredited a non-resident ambassador to Pyongyang from Beijing.
KCNA had previously reported that relationships between the two countries, even if not active at the official level, remain warm and friendly. It had quoted Singapore’s Ambassador at large, Kishore Mahbubani’s editorial in the Straits Times titled ‘How the Western media gets the Korean crisis wrong‘ to claim that the Republic is supportive of the repressive regime.
“Paradoxically while the North Korean regime is behaving erratically, it is not behaving irrationally.” – Kishore Mahbubani
DPRK citizens could enter Singapore visa-free till mid 2016, when the rules were changed and North Koreans now do require a visa. Singaporeans holding a normal passport will also need a visa after obtaining authorization from the North Korean government to visit North Korea for both business and tourism.