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UAE terminates North Korean diplomatic mission, ends visas

UAE to end mission of North Korea's non-resident envoy and stop issuing new visas to North Koreans

Staff Report
18:41 October 12, 2017

Dubai: The UAE said on Thursday that it was ending the mission of North Korea's non-resident ambassador and terminating its own envoy's services in Pyongyang, according to the official Twitter account of state news agency WAM.

The UAE would also stop issuing new visas or company licences to North Korean citizens, WAM added.

"The measures... come within the context of its obligation as a responsible member of the international community to strengthen the international will and to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile programs," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by WAM.

The UAE's move follows similar moves by Kuwait and Qatar.

Tensions over North Korea's weapons programme have soared in recent months, with Pyongyang launching a flurry of missiles and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test last month.

UN sanctions against North Korea were last month expanded to include North Korean guest workers, along with textiles and a cap on oil exports.

South Korea and Japan have pressured Gulf states to stop employing North Korean workers, whose income goes towards remittances that benefit the regime in Pyongyang, according to Asian diplomatic sources.

In September, Kuwait gave the North Korean ambassador one month to leave the country and stopped issuing visas to all North Koreans.

Qatar has also said it would not renew visas for North Korean labourers, with the last work permits set to expire at the end of 2018.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 North Koreans currently work in Kuwait, and another estimated 1,000 in Qatar.

The UAE is home to some 1,300 North Korean workers, according to a South Korean diplomat.