Tunisia's Saied congratulates Kim Jong-un on national day, prompts ridicule

Tunisia's Saied congratulates Kim Jong-un on national day, prompts ridicule
The Tunisian president's message was only published by the Asian country's official news agency some 20 days after North Korea celebrated its National Day.
2 min read
27 September, 2023
Kais Saied has been mocked on social media for his congratulatory message to North Korea's Kim Jong-un [Getty]

Tunisian President Kais Saied has faced ridicule after sending a congratulatory message to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on the occasion of the country’s national day, more than two weeks late.

The North Korean official news agency (KCNA), published the note on Sunday, despite the national day taking plac eon 4 September.

The message read: "On the occasion of the celebration of the National Day of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I have the pleasure of expressing to Your Excellency, on my behalf and on behalf of the Tunisian people, my warmest congratulations and best wishes for health and happiness, hoping for further development and prosperity for your friendly people. Please accept, Your Excellency, the expression of my highest consideration and deep respect."

Saied's communication with the North Korean leader prompted derision from social media users.

Morsel Alkesibi wrote on Facebook: "During international isolation and an unprecedented political and economic crisis, Kais Saied approached the North Korean leader through a telegram he sent on September 4, and it was published twenty days later!"

Another activist, Mondher Elwasif said sarcastically: "The best way to do diplomacy is to fight with America, Europe, Africa, and neighbouring countries, and then establish relations with North Korea!"

President Saied has previously incited racial violence against African migrants in Tunisia, prompting thousands to flee the country and souring relations with African states.

Tunisia is one of the 160 nations the North Korean state enjoys diplomatic relations with. Ties were formalised in August 1975.

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In 2019, North Korea congratulated Saied on his election as president of Tunisia, with its parliament speaker, Choe Ryong-hae saying he hoped Saied "would succeed in preserving Tunisia’s stability and development."

The Tunisian president has faced widespread condemnation for his power grab in 2021 which saw him sack the government and suspend parliament.

More recently, scores of opposition members have been arrested on charges of "conspiring against state security."