Wagswoofs – Media reports and analysts suggest that North Korea is on the brink of shutting down around 12 embassies, including those in Spain, Hong Kong, and several African countries. This decision could result in the closure of almost one-quarter of Pyongyang’s missions across the globe.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s unification ministry stated that North Korea’s closure of its diplomatic missions is an indication of the country’s financial struggles abroad due to international sanctions.
According to North Korean state media outlet KCNA on Monday, the country’s ambassadors made “farewell” visits to the leaders of Angola and Uganda last week. Local media in both African nations also reported the closure of North Korea’s embassies in the respective countries.
Since the 1970s, North Korea has maintained friendly ties with both Angola and Uganda. These two countries have continued to engage in military cooperation with North Korea, while also providing unique sources of foreign currency, such as statue-building projects.
According to Chad O’Carroll, the founder of the North Korea-focused website NK Pro, the closure of embassies in North Korea could potentially lead to one of the most significant foreign policy changes in the country in decades. This could have far-reaching consequences, affecting diplomatic engagement, humanitarian work, and the generation of illegal revenue within the isolated nation.
According to a report released on Wednesday, over a dozen missions are expected to shut down. This is believed to be due to international sanctions, North Korea’s tendency to disengage globally, and the anticipated decline of the country’s economy.
According to Seoul’s unification ministry, responsible for inter-Korean affairs, the withdrawal is a result of the global sanctions aimed at limiting the financial resources of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The Ministry stated that due to the international community’s imposition of stronger sanctions, North Korea’s foreign currency earning business has stumbled, causing them to withdraw. The statement added that this withdrawal could indicate the country’s struggling economic situation, making it challenging to maintain even minimal diplomatic relations with traditionally friendly nations.
According to the ministry, North Korea had formal relations with 159 countries and maintained 53 diplomatic missions across the world, including three consulates and three representative offices. However, it recently withdrew from Angola and Uganda.
According to Yonhap news agency, North Korea plans to close down its embassy in Spain. The mission in Italy will take over responsibility for handling affairs in the neighboring country.
According to a letter dated October 26 that was released on the website of the Spanish Communist Party, the North Korean Embassy has announced its closure.
In 2019, a group attempting to overthrow North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made headlines when they broke into the North’s embassy in Madrid. During the break-in, embassy staff members were bound and gagged while the group took off with computers and other devices. The incident brought attention to the North Korean embassy in Madrid.
The incident was denounced by Pyongyang as a “terrorist attack” and a “grave breach of sovereignty.” Furthermore, they accused the United States of failing to conduct a thorough investigation of the group and refusing to extradite its leader.
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