Politics

North Korea closes 2 more embassies in Africa: Seoul

Seoul, Dec 5 (EFE).- North Korea has closed its embassies in Guinea and Senegal, in a new step in the reduction of its diplomatic representation abroad motivated by economic reasons, according to a senior foreign affairs official from South Korea.

The closures follow those of missions in Spain, Uganda, Bangladesh, Angola and Nepal, and with all of them, the total number of North Korean representations abroad has been reduced from 53 to 46, the source told local news agency Yonhap.

The closure of the North Korean diplomatic representation in Hong Kong, which had been reported by some international media, has not yet been accounted for since it has not yet been officially announced, added the South Korean foreign official.

Pyongyang announced early last month that the recent closures were part of standard procedures used on previous occasions and that they seek to improve the efficiency of its diplomatic operations.

“In line with changes in the international environment and in the state’s foreign policy, we are closing or opening new diplomatic missions in other countries,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several experts have said these closures of diplomatic representations point to the economic difficulties suffered by the North Korean regime, affected by sanctions and by three years of a strict border closure policy that has seriously affected its finances.

Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who is now a parliamentarian in Seoul, said these closures show the difficult economic times the impoverished country faces and that in the ‘90s, when North Korea suffered the worst famine in its history, Pyongyang closed several embassies reopened years later. EFE

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