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N. Korea closes diplomatic missions in Bangladesh, DR Congo

In yet another closure of diplomatic missions, North Korea has been shutting down its embassies in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo, foreign news reports showed Wednesday.

They are the latest in the list of overseas missions Pyongyang has shut down in the past months, including those in Angola, Hong Kong, Nepal, Spain and Uganda. North Korea has said the closures are part of efforts to enhance its diplomatic efficiency.

Last week, the North closed its embassy in Dhaka and notified the government that its diplomatic mission in India will be taking over relevant affairs, according to a report by The Daily Star, a local daily.

The two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1973. Four North Korean diplomats, including the ambassador, had been dispatched to the now-shuttered embassy in Bangladesh.

NK News, an online outlet specializing in North Korea, reported that Pyongyang is set to shut down its embassy in DR Congo.

The outlet said the North gave no reason for its closure, adding its diplomatic mission in Ethiopia will take over.

Since establishing diplomatic ties with DR Congo in 1964, the North has sustained close ties with the African country, mainly through arms exports and gold mining.

Earlier this month, the North said it is closing and opening new diplomatic missions “in accordance with the changed global environment and national diplomatic policy,” without elaborating on which countries the plan would affect.

Rather than receiving funds from Pyongyang, the North’s diplomatic missions are known to secure funds for operations through illicit trade and commercial activities and send remittances to their home country, according to former North Korean diplomats who have defected to South Korea.

South Korea’s unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, assessed the recent shutdowns as an apparent sign of its faltering economy, worsened by global sanctions. 

Source: Korea Times