From the official North Korean news:
DPRK Ambassador Kim Chang Ryop presented his credentials to Filipe Jacinto Nwussi, president of the Republic of Mozambique, on March 22.
On the occasion the president said: The long-standing friendly and cooperative relations between Mozambique and the DPRK will as ever grow strong.
We thank the government and people of the DPRK for having always supported and rendered material and moral support to the Mozambican government and people. We hope for the Korean people's success in the efforts to build a socialist power and reunify the country under the guidance of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
Rodong News Team
Hmm. Reunite Korea under Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un? It may just be diplomatic niceties, but this is surely not what anyone wants to hear from the president of another country, never mind the president of a Commonwealth country. Shouldn't someone (the Queen?) have a word?
Why are North Korea and Mozambique so friendly, anyway? Well, the North Koreans provided some military support for the national liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule, and after independence some Mozambican officers received military training there. The North Koreans were active at that time in supporting newly independent African leaders - most famously for their part in the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s, when Mugabe's Shona thugs killed thousands of their Ndebele rivals to consolidate ZANU's grip on power.
There's more, though. From a Zambian newspaper last year:
According to a study just released by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, the country [Mozambique] is incapable of disrupting the criminal syndicates that have turned it into a major trans-shipment point for rhino horn, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and dagga. The value of illegal drug trade in Mozambique, it claims, is probably greater than all foreign aid combined.
Global Initiative rhino investigator Julian Rademeyer found that the corruption permeating every level of the Mozambique state and the country’s leaky ports, airports and borders made it a smuggler’s paradise. Of great concern is what he describes as “dodgy diplomats”, particularly North Koreans, using this weakness to smuggle illicit products.
Smuggling illicit products? Yep, that sounds like North Korea.
Once hailed as a post-civil war success story, Mozambique, he says, is a country in crisis, paralysed by rampant corruption, a weak judiciary, an ineffectual and criminally compromised police force, and powerful criminal syndicates with tentacles reaching into every level of the state.
Many of Mozambique’s political elite, according to Global Initiative, have grown fat on the proceeds of the patronage networks that grew and festered for a decade under the country’s former president, Armando Guebuza.
“His successor, Filipe Nyusi, is still grappling with Guebuza’s toxic legacy and, more than a year since he took office, has yet to solidify control over the state and Frelimo, the ruling party.”
Added to Mozambique’s problems is its role as a key regional money-laundering hub, a dramatic increase in kidnappings-for-ransom and a series of high profile assassinations that, among others, have claimed the lives of a judge, journalists and, most recently, a prosecutor....
The Global Initiative report highlights the increasing role and impunity of North Korean diplomats in criminal activities in the southern African region. An example was the arrest, in Maputo in May 2015, of a North Korean diplomat and a Taekwon-Do instructor after 4.5kg of rhino horn and $100,000 was found in their vehicle. Police detained them and impounded the vehicle.
Within hours of learning of the incident, the North Korean ambassador to South Africa, Yong Man-ho, was on a flight from Johannesburg to Maputo. The diplomats were released after paying $30,000 and the vehicle was returned to them....
Since the mid-1970s, North Korea’s involvement in transnational organised crime – particularly drug and cigarette trafficking, weapons smuggling and the production of counterfeit US currency – has grown steadily, peaking during the severe economic crisis and famine the country faced in the early and mid-1990s.
North Korean embassy officials have been implicated in 16 of the 29 smuggling cases involving diplomats that Global Initiative identified in a variety of sources dating from 1986.
A 2007 assessment of illicit activity and smuggling networks concluded that “North Korea possesses sophisticated smuggling capabilities developed from years of transnational criminal activity, driven by economic necessity and justified with ideological veneer”. These illicit activities are said to be controlled by a shadowy agency known as Division 39....
With most of the planet’s rhinos in Kruger Park, which borders on Mozambique, the future of the species remains extremely tenuous unless South Africa and the world takes action to hold Maputo and North Korea to account.
Nor should we too sanguine about the new president Nyusi's attempts to come to grips with his predecessor Guebuza's "toxic legacy".
Although Nyussi was regarded as relatively obscure compared to the other candidates, he was the candidate most closely identified with President Guebuza. It was generally believed that the selection of Nyussi as Frelimo's candidate would enable Guebuza, who was required to step down due to term limits, to retain substantial power after leaving office.
And let's not forget the heroic statue of Frelimo leader and national hero Somora Machel, in the centre of Independence Square, Maputo:
President Nyusi was in Japan earlier this month:
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday sharply condemned North Korea for its nuclear programme.
A joint statement issued in Tokyo after talks between the two leaders said they “condemned in the strongest terms North Korea's nuclear tests and repeated missile launches and underlined the need to maintain peace, security and stability in the region by fully implementing the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.”...
This is the first public condemnation of North Korea's nuclear tests by a Mozambican leader. Mozambique has longstanding relations with North Korea.
Confusing signals, then. But he had to say that when visiting Japan. His later comments to the DPRK ambassador suggest that nothing much has really changed.