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North Korea is set to shutter nearly a quarter of its global embassies, including those in Spain, Hong Kong, and several African nations.
Last week, North Korean media reported ambassadors bidding farewell to leaders in Angola and Uganda, highlighting the impending embassy shutdowns. Historically, these African countries have maintained warm relations with North Korea since the 1970s, collaborating on military endeavors and aiding Pyongyang’s foreign currency reserves. These diplomatic ties are emblematic of North Korea’s strategic partnerships that offered economic reprieve amidst global restrictions.
In addition to African nations, North Korea’s embassy in Spain is also on the list of closures. An official letter dated October 26, released by the Spanish Communist Party, confirmed this development. Interestingly, this embassy had previously made headlines in 2019 when activists opposed to Kim Jong Un’s regime staged a dramatic break-in, prompting sharp criticism from Pyongyang.
While North Korea maintains formal ties with 159 countries, it operates 53 overseas missions. The recent closures have been attributed to both the effects of stringent international sanctions and North Korea’s evolving global engagement strategy, as well as potential economic difficulties in sustaining even minimal diplomatic relations with traditionally allied nations.
Chad O’Carroll, founder of NK Pro, remarked that these closures could lead to “one of the country’s biggest foreign policy shakeups in decades,” impacting various aspects, including diplomatic ties, humanitarian efforts, and revenue streams.