ISLAMABAD - Kim Jong IL, the son of celebrated Korean leader Kim IL Sung, and father of Kim Jong-un, the present leader of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was born on 16th Feburary 1942. To celebrate the 76th Birthday Anniversary of Kim Jong IL, the leader of Korean people, Mr. Kim Thae Sop, the North Korean ambassador to Pakistan hosted a reception at his residence in Islamabad.

Member National Assembly, Dr. Syed Ghazi Ghulab Jamal, was the chief guest on the occasion. PTI MNA Ms Mussarat Ahmed Zeb, Director General Ministry of Foreign Affairs Muhammad Hassan, Leader of Pakistan People’s Party Amir Fida Paracha, the former president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khalid Iqbal Malik and Ijaz Abbasi were also present. A cake was cut and flower bouquets were placed near the picture of Kim Jong IL by the important guests.

Sports have repeatedly been used as a means of diplomacy between opposing powers. The game ping-pong played a vital role in the softening of tensions between the United States of America and the People Republic of China in the early 1970s. This event paved the way for a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon. In 1988, Zia decided to watch a game of cricket between Pakistan and India in India. Zia’s visit to India diffused the Operation Brasstacks, and the border standoff came to an end with this cricket diplomacy. Something similar happened recently between the North Korean leadership and the South Korean government. Diplomacy and sports mixed in an unprecedented way in the Winter Olympics being held in South Korea when Kim’s younger sister visited Seoul. This was the first such peace initiative on part of North Korean leadership. Kim Jong Un took a wise decision by sending his sister to neighboring Korea where she remained the center of world’s attention during the opening ceremony of the event. The visit reflected North Korea’s intentions to seek rapprochement with its southern neighbor. The historic moment of the visit was when the South Korean president Moon Jae -In and North Korea’s First Sister shook hands. Kim-Yo- ong made efforts to cool down the tensions by writing a warm message that read “I hope Pyongyang and Seoul become closer in our people’s hearts and move forward to a future of prosperous unification,” in Seoul’s presidential guest book.

Director General Ministry of Foreign Affairs Muhammad Hassan made a short speech on this occasion. He congratulated the Korean government and people on behalf of the government of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan and DPRK have cordial relations whose deep-rooted friendship is growing with time. He further elaborated that both have helped and supported each other in the hour of need. Pakistan will continue its cooperation with North Korea over the time he added.

The writer of this column in his speech said that the Kim –Jong-Un the present leader of DPRK has taken a positive initiative by sending Kim -Yo-Jong’s sister to Seoul. He said that this will send a message to the whole world that Koreans are one nation who can resolve their issues without any foreign intervention. He further said that the South Korean president Moon Jae-In response to this visit was pushing for global peace. DPRK ambassador Kim Thae Sop also delivered a speech in which he welcomed all guests on this joyful event.  He thanked the chief guest and other guests for their participation.  He further said that DPRK can safeguard its sovereignty and will continue its efforts to become a prosperous country.  He also highlighted the role of Kim Jong IL for making DPRK stronger. 

Dr. Ghazi Ghulab Jamal also paid tribute to Kim Jong IL and conveyed good wishes of the Pakistani Parliament to the DPRK people, Government and Parliament. He further highlighted the role of various governments over the past four decades to cooperate with each other and assist each other.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.