A royal spokesperson, however, confirmed to the Daily Beast that Queen Elizabeth II had indeed sent a happy message to Kim Jong Un on the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea “regularly greets our Queen on her birthday,” Korean expert Aidan Foster-Carter, senior researcher at the University of Leeds in England, told The Daily Beast, “but I can’t find any evidence of it. no message from us to them – until now. So it’s intriguing. “
The message, dated September 7, two days before the North Korea founding day parade, was revealed on Monday by Korea’s Central Pyongyang News Agency, which released it in its entirety among dozens. other messages from leaders of countries like Algeria, Seychelles and Azerbaijan. . The controversial King of Thailand was another sympathizer, but the leaders of other great Western powers were notable for their absence.
The Queen has avoided personal homage to the Korean dictator despite the anniversary of the establishment of the Kim Dynasty.
“As the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea celebrate their national day, I send my best wishes for the future,” she said.
A royal spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the message to the Daily Beast, dispelling suspicions that it could be an elaborate hoax. The palace would only say that the message had been sent to the head of state, although there was only one man that could refer to. The Pyongyang KCNA confirmed that he was sent to Kim Jong Un as “president of state affairs.”
“It was a message sent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO) on Her Majesty’s behalf to the people of North Korea on their national day,” a palace spokesperson said. Such messages are routinely sent on behalf of the Queen by and on the advice of the FCDO, she would not have drafted the message herself.
However, efforts to downplay the message’s importance will not appease critics who fear the regime is using the Queen’s message to lend legitimacy to its autocratic system. North Korea’s nuclear aspirations were demonstrated again on Sunday with the boasting of successful testing of a new long-range cruise missile.
DPRK leaders have been trying to engage with the Queen for years, sending nice notes to the family and its citizens. In 2014, for example, Kim Yong Nam, then reigning head of state of North Korea, sent birthday greetings to the Queen in which he wished her and her subjects “health and happiness.” … Well-being and prosperity ”.
The feeling then, as now, was that North Korea was seeking to befriend the UK despite the hostility dating back to the Korean War when British troops played heroic roles under the aegis. of the United Nations Command in battles along the line between North and South. .
Bruce Bennett, a North Korean expert at the Rand Corporation, said the Queen’s message could also be seen as pro-Western propaganda, designed to appeal to the North Korean people rather than the ruling family.
“I firmly believe that the Republic of Korea (South Korea, Republic of Korea), the United States and other allies should tell the North Korean people that we do not hate them. Contrary to what the regime tells them, we are not their enemies, and we really hope they can have a better life.
Bennett suggested that the United States should follow the Queen’s lead when it comes to congratulating North Koreans on birthdays.
“I have always been puzzled as to why the US government does not try to send such messages,” he said. While Kim Jong Un “appears to be paranoid about outside information, the United States and its allies should regularly send appropriate messages to the North Korean people, messages that contradict the regime’s evil propaganda.”
“With Kim having so many internal issues right now, he needs some scapegoats to blame,” Bennett said. “What better message to send than we are not harming North Korea is the regime. “
Andrew Salmon, author of groundbreaking books on the British in the Korean War, saw the leaders of the two countries in a symbiotic relationship. These few words from the Queen, he said, were “a message from a hereditary (constitutional) monarch to a hereditary (absolute) monarch”.
But the message could contain more than just words, according to Choi Jin-wook, who has been analyzing North Korea’s problems for decades with the Korea Institute of National Unification and others.
“A wild guess! He said, observing that the US and UK “are in close communication” and may have collaborated on the message. “A country or person like North Korea who is isolated and labeled as a usual suspect must be treated well. Otherwise, it can create problems, ”he said.
Choi said that the United States was not in a position to “do anything”, but it is interesting that the principal American negotiator on the DPRK, Sung Kim, was in Tokyo for talks. with South Korean and Japanese envoys even as KCNA reported the message. Sung Kim’s point was that the United States wanted to engage in dialogue with the North “regardless of the progress of denuclearization,” according to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.
Indeed, Sung Kim referred to the negotiations despite North Korea bragging about successfully testing a new type of cruise missile over the weekend. Without referring to cruise missile testing, he said the United States was “ready to work in cooperation with the DPRK to address humanitarian concerns,” Yonhap reported.
Shim Jae-hoon, a longtime analyst on Korean issues, had a less charitable explanation for the royal gesture. “Think about his age (95),” he said. “Maybe she’s getting along. “