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North Korea cops invitation to Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

Rachel Lang

Published 
| Last updated 

North Korea cops invitation to Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

North Korea has received an invitation to Queen Elizabeth's funeral, despite their horrendous human rights record and tensions over the rogue nation's nuclear programme.

Dictator Kim Jong-un has not been invited, but an invitation has instead been extended to an ambassador on behalf of Pyongyang.

Every country the United Kingdom has diplomatic relations with has been invited to the state funeral.

The only exceptions to that rule are Russia, Belarus, and Myanmar.

North Korea and Britain established diplomatic relations back in 2000, ending 60 years without an embassy between the two nations.

Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy
Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy

However, an ambassadorial invitation instead of an invite extended to the head of state can reflect diplomatic tensions between two nations, The Telegraph reports.

In this case, Kim John-un has not been invited, although he does rarely travel abroad.

Iran and Nicaragua have also been extended invites.

Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programmes have copped flak from the UK and the West in recent years.

Russia did not receive an invite following the Kremlin's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Afghanistan also did not receive an invite after the Taliban took the country over last year.

Myanmar was also snubbed after the military seized power in a coup.

Venezuela and Syria are understood to have been snubbed as Britain does not have full diplomatic relations with the two nations.

Foreign dignitaries who do come to the UK will also be invited to visit the Queen’s Lying in State inside parliament’s Westminster Hall ahead of her funeral.

Around 1,000 handwritten invitations for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral and have now been sent around the globe.

The Queen's coffin. Credit: PA Images / Alamy
The Queen's coffin. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

The invite comes one year after the Queen sent Kim Jong-un a celebratory message in the lead up to the 73rd anniversary of its founding as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, according to The Daily Beast.

The message read: "As the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea celebrate their national day, I send my good wishes for the future."

A royal spokesperson explained: "It was a message sent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO) on behalf of Her Majesty to the people of North Korea on their national day."

That basically means the Queen didn't send the message personally, so it wasn't a 'sliding in DMs' situation.

Although it's hard to know exactly the reasoning behind the message, a few have their opinion.

North Korea 'regularly greets our queen on her birthday', argued Korea expert Aidan Foster-Carter, senior research fellow at Leeds University in England.

Foster-Carter added: "But I find no trace of any message from us/her to them - until now.

"So this is intriguing."

Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy. REUTERS / Alamy.

Topics: Kim Jong-un, The Queen, Royal Family, UK News, News

Rachel Lang
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