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North Korea shuts Nepal mission

North Korea shuts Nepal mission

North Korea has decided to shut down its embassy in Kathmandu in the wake of heightened geopolitical tensions, realignment of its priorities and a crunch of resources.

North Korean Ambassador to Nepal Jo Yong Man has informed Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal about his government’s decision to close the embassy. After the establishment of diplomatic relations on 15 May 1974, North Korea opened its residential embassy in Kathmandu but Nepal did not reciprocate. Before establishing formal diplomatic ties, the two countries had signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement in 1970. 

Rupak Sapkota, Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Advisor, confirmed that the North Korean ambassador has informed Dahal about the decision. On Monday, the diplomat held a farewell meeting with PM Dahal. The embassy has started its exit process after informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Sapkota, PM Dahal expressed sadness over the decision and expressed hope that North Korea will reopen its embassy in Nepal soon. According to sources, geopolitical factors and economic recession have caused North Korea to decrease the numbers of embassies abroad.

Before 2019, North Korea had been operating its businesses, including some restaurants in Kathmandu, to generate income for the operation of embassies. The country started shutting down its businesses in Nepal after the UN imposed economic sanctions against it in 2018. 

Last week, the North Korean Foreign Ministry informed Nepal that it was closing down several embassies. “We are carrying out operations to withdraw and establish diplomatic missions in accordance with a changing global environment and national foreign policy,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement on Friday, adding that while some embassies would close, others would open. The changes are “part of the regular affairs to promote national interest through external relations,” the spokesperson added.