International News

UAE ends North Korea’s diplomatic mission, will stop issuing new visas to its citizens

There are thousands of North Korean workers in the US-allied Gulf region, mainly working on construction sites.

The United Arab Emirates is shutting down the mission of North Korea’s non-resident ambassador and ending its own envoy’s service in Pyongyang, state news agency WAM reported. The UAE will also not issue any new visas or company licenses to North Korean citizens, its Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

On September 19, United States President Donald Trump had asked United Nations member states to pressurise North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons. North Korea’s nuclear tests and missile launches have increased tensions across the globe.

There are several thousands of North Koreans, who work primarily at construction sites in the UAE, an ally of the United States, Reuters reported. “The measures... come within the context of obligation as a responsible member of the international community to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile programs,” the UAE’s Foreign Ministry said.

The US State Department said it was “very happy to hear about UAE’s decision”. “There are many countries that are taking those steps that we have asked [them] to take,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

UAE’s announcement comes after its Arab neighbours, Qatar and Kuwait, reduced their ties with Pyongyang and stopped issuing new visas to North Korean citizens.

On September 3, the country’s state media claimed they had successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test. This was the country’s sixth underground nuclear test since 2006.

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