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North Korea’s foreign minister says his country and Syria face the same “enemy” and called for increased cooperation between them.

Syria’s President Bashar Assad received Ri Yong Ho on Tuesday. Assad responded by identifying the United States as a hostile country to Syria and North Korea. Syria state news agency SANA carried the comments.

Washington has an estimated 2,000 troops stationed in eastern Syria as part of its campaign against Islamic State group militants.

The Korean minister congratulated Syria on recent victories against armed groups, saying military and political successes will make for a “solid base” for reconstruction.

This summer, North Korea reported that Assad plans to visit.

Syria and North Korea are longtime allies. They have been accused of cooperating on chemical weapons, a charge they both deny.

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