North Korea is currently closing down several of its limited embassies worldwide, raising concerns about a potential financial crisis. Reports indicate that the hermit kingdom is shutting down its embassy in Nepal, marking the fifth country from which North Korea has withdrawn in recent months.
The withdrawals are ostensibly part of a diplomatic restructuring effort, as stated by a spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry, who mentioned, “We are conducting operations to withdraw and establish diplomatic missions in accordance with the changed global environment and national diplomatic policy.”
Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has approved the withdrawal from Nepal, Spain, Angola, Uganda, and Hong Kong, causing confusion among diplomats. South Korean experts suggest that these closures reflect a rapidly deteriorating financial situation in North Korea.
The South Korean Unification Ministry stated last month that the series of measures indicates the difficulty for North Korea to maintain diplomatic missions due to strengthened sanctions, hindering their efforts to obtain foreign currency.
North Korea, facing challenges in sustaining its population through domestic production or standard trade, relies on contributions from allies, and sometimes even adversaries, to alleviate starvation. Defected diplomats have claimed that North Korean embassies are predominantly funded by illegal activities and illicit money-making projects.
Worldwide, North Korean diplomats have been involved in international incidents related to counterfeiting, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and more.
Simultaneously, amidst this diplomatic reshuffling, Kim Jong-Un’s regime seems focused on building relations with Russia and China. Despite being notoriously isolated, North Korea has received multiple diplomatic missions from both countries in recent months.
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