Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, once a Cold War enemy of the United States, has re-established diplomatic relations with former ally North Korea just four months after he bounced back to power.
Ortega says his country has a special relationship with North Korea because the communist country helped train his left-wing Sandinista guerrilla army in the years before a 1979 revolution that first carried him to power.
Weakened by a civil war against US-backed rebels, 0rtega was toppled by voters in 1990 and ties with North Korea were then broken off. But Ortega won a presidential election last November after 16 years in opposition and returned to office in January.
He has since moved Nicaragua closer to several leftist and anti-US governments such as Cuba, Iran and Venezuela and has now announced the resumption of diplomatic ties with North Korea.
“We’re going to strengthen relations,” Ortega said.
North Korea’s deputy foreign minister was to visit Nicaragua this week.
Ortega says he wants to stay on good terms with the US but the closer ties with North Korea are likely to worry Washington, which is trying to push North Korea to shut its nuclear facilities.
When Ortega led Nicaragua in the 1980s, his main international support came from communist Cuba and the Soviet Union.