Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for North Korea

Newsline: Germany withdraws diplomat from North Korea

Germany is withdrawing a third diplomat from its embassy in North Korea over increasing concerns about Pyongyang’s missile program, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday, a day after Pyongyang test fired a new missile. North Korea said on Wednesday it had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. Berlin strongly condemned the test as a violation of international law. Speaking in Washington after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Gabriel said he had offered support for taking a tough line towards Pyongyang. Two diplomats had already been withdrawn from the German embassy in Pyongyang, and a third was being pulled out now, Gabriel said. Germany was also demanding North Korea reduce its diplomatic presence in Germany. Gabriel said Washington had not demanded that Germany, one of seven European countries with embassies in North Korea, shut its mission or withdraw its ambassador. It was not Germany’s desire to shut down its embassy, he said, but added: “that doesn’t mean we are ruling it out.” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States had called on countries to scale back or cut ties with North Korea as part of an effort to pressure Pyongyang to give up its weapons programs.



Newsline: At UN, Ambassador Haley warns against war in which North Korean regime ‘will be utterly destroyed’

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned Wednesday that the North Korean regime “will be utterly destroyed” if a war breaks out, a day after that country launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in a new provocative test. “We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it,” ambassador Nikki Haley said at an emergency UN Security Council meeting. “If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday.” “And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” Haley said. “The nations of the world have it within their power to further isolate, diminish and, God willing, reverse the dangerous course of the North Korean regime.” North Korea on Tuesday fired what appeared to be a new type of ICBM. North Korean state television claimed was a nuclear-capable missile that was “significantly more” powerful than missiles in previous tests, the Associated Press reported.


Newsline: North Korean Ambassador To Thailand Says His Country Will Strike Back If Attacked

North Korean Ambassador to Thailand Mun Song-mo says his country will “definitely win” any war with the United States if Washington does not drop its “plan to destroy us.” He called US President Donald Trump a “mad man”, the envoy from Pyongyang in an interview last Friday: “We now have the hydrogen bomb. If a war breaks out, we are ready to fight and we will surely win the war against the United States.” In the rare interview, the North Korean envoy, however, stressed: “We don’t want to start a war. We want peace. But if we are attacked, we will certainly fight and we have no doubts that we will win.”


Newsline: North Korean embassy in Pakistan ‘hid £114000 stash of bootleg alcohol’

Burglars in Pakistan stumbled upon a secret stash of more than £114,000 worth of black market alcohol after breaking into a North Korean diplomat’s home in Islamabad, it has emerged. Neighbours told Reuters news agency that a group of men kicked down the door of Hyon Ki Yong’s house and spent spent three hours removing thousands of bottles of Scotch whiskey, beer and French wine. They also ran off with 200 cases of wine, 60 cartons of beer, dozens of bottles of tequila, two diamonds and $3,000 (£2,200) in cash. Investigators in Pakistan, who have since recovered much of the stash, said the three robbers were police officers and have issued arrest warrants for them and for a member of a well-known bootlegging family. They have also arrested Mr Hyon’s housekeeper.


Newsline: Airport video shows North Korean embassy official with Kim Jong Nam murder suspects

An North Korean embassy official and a manager of Air Koryo, the national airline, met suspects wanted for the killing of Kim Jong Nam shortly after the murder, according to video recordings shown at the trial in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. Two women, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam, and four men who are still at large, have been charged in the murder of the half-brother of the country’s leader, using banned chemical weapon VX at Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13. Defense lawyers have said Siti Aisyah and Huong were duped into thinking they were playing a prank for a reality TV show. The four suspects, who were caught on airport camera talking to the women before they attacked Kim Jong Nam, were identified as North Koreans for the first time on Monday, a month since the trial began. Three of them were seen meeting a North Korean embassy official and the Air Koryo official, both unidentified, at the main airport terminal within an hour of the attack, lead police investigator Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz told the court. North Korea has vehemently denied accusations by South Korean and U.S. officials that Kim Jong Un’s regime was behind the killing.


Newsline: Malaysia mulls shuttering embassy in North Korea

Malaysia may end diplomatic relations with North Korea over its continued military aggression, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today. He said the position was adopted after consulting with US President Donald Trump during Najib’s visit in September, and following the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, here. “I have stated that Malaysia has taken all steps to abide by all United Nation resolutions relating to the North Korean threat, including the reduction of Korean diplomatic officers in Malaysia. “We are considering our bonds with North Korea including cutting political and economic relations. Malaysia is considering closing our embassy in Pyongyang and moving it to Beijing,” Najib said today in Parliament. He reiterated that Malaysia discontinued the visa-free arrangement with North Korea following the diplomatic row over Jong-nam’s murder.


Newsline: India says its embassy in Pyongyang will remain open

India today informed the US that it has “minimal” trade with North Korea, and that there was a small Indian embassy in Pyongyang which should stay there so that some channels of communication remain open. The issue figured during talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “The fact is that we do have an embassy there even though it is very small,” said Swaraj, responding to a query on whether India would downgrade ties with Pyongyang in light of US attempts to rein in Kim Jong Un diplomatically. “Our trade with North Korea can at best be described as minimal. I told Secretary Tillerson that some countries which are friendly to US should continue to maintain their embassies as it will allow channels of communication to remain open,” added Swaraj.