North Korea is reportedly closing nearly a quarter of its embassies worldwide, a move that has sparked speculation about the country's financial state amid ongoing international sanctions.
As reported by The Guardian, the closures affect embassies in various countries, including Spain, Hong Kong, and several African nations. The North Korean foreign ministry described these closures as a normal reshuffling in response to changes in the international environment and state external policy.
According to Western Journal, South Korea's unification ministry, however, interprets these closures as a sign of North Korea's dire economic situation, exacerbated by the United Nations-led sanctions.
The closures are seen as an indication of the financial burden of maintaining these diplomatic missions.
Cho Han-bum, a senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, suggests that economic hardship and depletion of foreign currency are the primary reasons for these embassy closures. He anticipates that North Korea will now concentrate on strengthening ties with key allies like China, Russia, Syria, Iran, and Cuba, while closing missions that are difficult and burdensome to maintain.
In a significant development, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Russia in September for a summit with President Vladimir Putin.
During this meeting, the two leaders agreed to a "100-year plan" to enhance North Korean-Russian relations. This alliance underscores the shifting geopolitical landscape, with an emerging axis involving Russia, China, India, Iran, and North Korea, particularly in the context of their relations with the United States.
The evolving relationships between these nations, especially in the face of sanctions and global tensions, highlight the complex dynamics of international politics and the potential for significant shifts in global stability.