The message was sent on the Queen’s behalf by the UK’s Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) “as has been done before,” the spokesperson said.
This is a common practice on other national days around the world, the palace added. “Her Majesty in all relations with other heads of state acts on the advice of FCDO,” the spokesperson said.
“As in previous years, Her Majesty The Queen sent a message to the people of the DPRK on the occasion of their national day,” added a spokesperson for the British FCDO.
North Korean state media KCNA released the message on Monday, reporting that “Kim Jong Un, President of State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), received a greeting message from Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Great Britain and Northern Ireland, September 7. “
According to KCNA, the message read: “As the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea celebrate their national day, I send my best wishes for the future.”
The notoriously reclusive country severed nearly all of its links with the outside world in 2020 to prevent an influx of coronavirus cases. North Korea has not reported a major Covid-19 outbreak, and there is no indication that an outbreak has taken place, although experts doubt Pyongyang’s claim that the country has no saw only one case of the virus.
Most, if not all foreign diplomats and aid workers have left the country, citing shortages of goods and extreme restrictions on daily life.
In June, Kim fired several senior officials who had failed to enforce strict Covid-19 prevention in North Korea, state news agency KCNA reported. It appears that some upper echelon members of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea have been replaced, KCNA said.
CNN’s Max Foster reported from London, England, and Gawon Bae from Seoul, South Korea.