North Korea continues shutting down many of its limited embassies around the world, furthering suspicions of an ongoing financial crisis.
The hermit kingdom is shutting down its embassy in Nepal, according to reports published Friday.
This is at least the fifth country North Korea has consciously pulled out of in recent months, ostensibly for diplomatic restructuring.
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“We are conducting operations to withdraw and establish diplomatic missions in accordance with the changed global environment and national diplomatic policy,” a spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry wrote earlier this month, according to translations from Yonhap News Agency.
Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has approved withdrawal from Nepal, Spain, Angola, Uganda and Hong Kong in recent months, leading to some confusion from diplomats.
South Korean experts have claimed the closures indicate a rapidly deteriorating financial situation for their northern counterparts.
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“The flurry of measures appears to show that it is no longer feasible for the North to maintain diplomatic missions as their efforts to obtain foreign currency have stumbled due to strengthened sanctions,” the South Korean Unification Ministry said last month, according to translations from Yonhap.
North Korea, unable to sustainably feed its own population through domestic production or standard trade, relies on allies’ — and sometimes even enemies’ — contribution to curb starvation.
Diplomats who have defected from the country have claimed North Korean embassies are largely funded by illegal activity and illicit money-making projects.
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North Korean diplomats worldwide have previously caused international incidents through participation or facilitation of counterfeiting, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and more.
At the same time as this diplomatic reshuffling, Kim Jong-Un’s regime appears to be putting great effort into building relations with Russia and China.
The infamously hermetic North Korea has received multiple diplomatic missions from both countries in the last few months.