SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday highlighted its past relations with African nations and vowed to expand their relations of "friendship and cooperation."
"We are committed to fully supporting the African countries in their endeavors to achieve peace, stability and politico-economic integrity of the continent and build prosperous Africa by their own efforts and to boosting our relations of friendship and cooperation with countries in the region," said Song Se-il, president of the North's Korea-Africa Association.
The English-language statement, released on the website of Pyongyang's foreign ministry, came on the 60th anniversary of Africa Day, which commemorates the foundation of the Organization of African Unity on May 25, 1963.
Citing countries like Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda and Sierra Leone, Song claimed that Pyongyang's friendly ties with the continent date back to the days of the North's late founder Kim Il-sung.
The late Kim, who founded and ruled North Korea until 1994, actively took part in the Non-Aligned Movement against imperialism in the late 20th century. At that time, North Korea was active in aiding and establishing friendly ties with African nations as part of the movement.
North Korea has been keen to strengthen ties with some countries in Africa amid global sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs.
In March, Burkina Faso said it restored diplomatic ties with North Korea as it seeks military support from Pyongyang. In 2017, the African nation cut its relations with North Korea due to United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.