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Archive for North Korea

Newsline: North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador warns nuclear war ‘may break out any moment’

North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.” Kim In Ryong told the UN General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s – and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence. He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using “nuclear assets” and said what is more dangerous is what he called a U.S. plan to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.” This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets.”



Newsline: Malaysia eyes closing embassy in North Korea

Malaysia is considering closing down its embassy in Pyongyang months after bilateral ties cooled following the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said his ministry will propose to the cabinet to relegate the mission’s service to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing as it is not safe to assign a new ambassador to Pyongyang, according local news reports. Anifah was speaking on Thursday at a dialogue with university students in Sarawak, a state in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo. “We may or may not sever ties with North Korea but we will have the [mission] accredited to the Beijing embassy,” Anifah was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times online news site. Malaysia imposed a travel ban to North Korea on Sept. 28, citing escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Pyongyang’s missile tests as reasons.


Newsline: Embassy in Pyongyang Points to North Korean Atlas Showing Crimea as Russia

The Russian Embassy in North Korea said in a Facebook post that Pyongyang’s new political atlas designates the Crimean peninsula as Russian territory. The Thursday post states that the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) “respects the results of the referendum which took place in Crimea regarding the incorporation of the peninsula into the Russian Federation.” North Korea considers the referendum “legitimate and completely meeting international legal standards,” said the embassy.


Newsline: North Korean Embassies Scrounge for Cash

While the embassies of most countries promote the interests of companies back home, North Korea’s are in business for themselves. A series of tough sanctions by the United Nations and an executive order recently signed by President Trump have sought to economically isolate the nuclear-armed regime of Kim Jong-un. But Pyongyang has held on to an array of profit-making ventures, some of which operate in the roughly 40 embassies of the hermit kingdom. North Korean embassies have spent decades running cash-raising schemes, nearly all of them illicit under current international law. Diplomats and their underlings have brokered deals for weapons and drugs, and more mundane products like machine tools and cows. They have also smuggled liquor, cigarettes, luxury cars and anything else that can be imported duty free and then sold at a gain. Earning money is a necessity for the embassies — North Korea doesn’t fund them. Instead, they are expected to support themselves and send home any surplus. In some cases, diplomats get involved with weapons deals. The third private secretary of the North Korean embassy in Beijing doubled as an employee of the Haegeumgang Trading Company. The company, according to a United Nations report, supplied surface-to-air missiles and radar systems to Mozambique. Haegeumgang also sold machine tools, and an ad in 2014 for those products on a Chinese website listed the company headquarters at the same address as the North Korean embassy in Beijing. Today, sanctions have forced many embassies to curb their ambitions, with some intent on keeping the lowest possible profile.

Newsline: Italy becomes fifth country to expel North Korean ambassador

Italy has become the latest country to expel a North Korean ambassador, saying that isolation was “inevitable” if Pyongyang continued to push ahead with its nuclear weapons program. The decision comes as the United States urges countries that have diplomatic relations with North Korea to sever or at least scale them back. Angelino Alfano, Italy’s foreign minister, said the North Korean ambassador in Rome, Mun Jong Nam, had been ordered to leave. “We want to make Pyongyang realize that their isolation is inevitable if they don’t change tack,” Alfano told Italian newspaper la Repubblica in an interview published Sunday. Mun had been in Rome barely a month, with his appointment announced by the North’s Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 28. Italy becomes the fifth country to expel a North Korean ambassador, following in the footsteps of Spain, Mexico, Peru and Kuwait.


Newsline: Police carry out controlled explosion on suspicious package found outside North Korean embassy in London

Local residents have been evacuated as police investigate a suspicious package found outside North Korea’s embassy in Ealing, west London. The Metropolitan Police confirmed they were called to a report of a “suspicious item” shortly before 8pm outside the semi-detached house. Police cordoned off roads, evacuated houses and reportedly carried out a controlled explosion at about 9.30pm. The package was then found to be non-threatening. A number of ambulances also attended the scene.


Newsline: Almost no North Koreans travel to the US, so why ban them?

President Trump’s extension of the travel ban to North Korea is mostly symbolic and will have little to no effect on Kim Jong Un’s regime, experts said Monday. Trump on Sunday issued an executive order indefinitely banning travel to the United States from eight countries. The list includes all but one of the countries covered by the original ban plus three more: Chad, Venezuela and North Korea. The problem with punishing Pyongyang by stopping North Koreans from traveling to the United States is that there are very few — almost none — making the trip. The new executive order suspends “immigrant and nonimmigrant” travel from North Korea to the United States. But people cannot emigrate from North Korea to the United States to begin with. “They should have checked if there is North Korean immigration before they banned it,” said John Delury, an associate professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University. “Why are you banning something that doesn’t exist?” North Korean defectors who end up in the United States usually arrive via South Korea and are typically traveling on South Korean, not North Korean, passports. Although North Korean diplomats do travel to the United States, mostly to United Nations headquarters in New York, the order notes that diplomatic visits are exempt from the ban.