North Korean Embassies to Close in Spain, Africa, and More

North Korean Embassies to Close in Spain, Africa, and More

North Korea is reportedly planning to close around 12 of its embassies, including those in Spain, Hong Kong, and various African countries. This decision, seen as a significant foreign policy shift, could result in nearly a quarter of North Korea's diplomatic missions worldwide shutting down.

According to South Korea's unification ministry, the embassy closures signal the country's economic struggles due to international sanctions.

North Korean state media recently announced that their ambassadors had bid farewell to leaders in Angola and Uganda, where local media confirmed the closure of North Korean embassies.These two African nations have maintained friendly ties with North Korea for decades, involving military cooperation and projects that generated foreign currency.

This move is expected to have far-reaching implications, affecting diplomatic engagement, humanitarian efforts within North Korea, and the country's ability to generate illicit revenue. The closure of more than a dozen embassies is primarily attributed to international sanctions, North Korea's diminishing global engagement, and a likely weakening of its economy.

The Seoul unification ministry pointed out that the closure of embassies is a consequence of international sanctions aimed at curtailing funding for North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Despite having formal relations with 159 countries, North Korea previously maintained 53 diplomatic missions overseas, which included consulates and representative offices.

However, the recent pullout from Angola and Uganda further underscores the challenging economic situation faced by North Korea, making it difficult to sustain even minimal diplomatic relations with historically friendly nations.

Furthermore, North Korea is also set to close its embassy in Spain, with diplomatic affairs in the country to be handled by its mission in Italy. This decision comes after the notorious 2019 break-in at the North Korean embassy in Madrid, carried out by a group seeking the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The incident led to a diplomatic dispute, with North Korea condemning it as a breach of sovereignty and a terrorist attack, accusing the United States of insufficiently investigating the group and refusing to extradite its leader.

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