September 20, 2017 12:04
Spain on Monday expelled the North Korean ambassador in the wake of the regime's latest nuclear test. It was the fourth country to do so after Mexico, Peru and Kuwait.
A growing number of North Korea's traditional allies are also announcing either the cutback or complete halt of trade with the isolated state. The moves come in response to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's request in a UN Security Council ministerial meeting on April 28 to sever or downgrade diplomatic ties with the North.
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis summoned North Korean ambassador Kim Hyok-chol on Sunday and informed him of his designation as persona non grata. Kim must leave Spain by Sept. 30. The ministry in a statement said it made the decision because North Korea's nuclear weapons program poses a serious threat to global peace and security.
Malaysia already expelled the North Korean ambassador in March following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the older half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
As of July North Korea had ambassadors in 47 countries.
The Foreign Ministry here said Italy did not grant agrément to the North Korean ambassador for eight months but finally did so in July. Germany has twice refused agrément to North Korean appointees.
The North Korean ambassadors to Myanmar and Egypt were replaced last year after they were put on a UN Security blacklist.
Southeast Asian nations are also turning their backs. The Philippines, North Korea's third largest trading partner after China and India, severed trade with the North on Sept. 8, while Cambodia in a statement criticized Pyongyang for the nuclear test.
Vietnam expelled the country representative of North Korea's Tanchon Commercial Bank. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in the U.S. last week that he would consider severing diplomatic ties with North Korea.
The U.S. Senate is pushing foreign governments to sever ties with the North. Senator Cory Gardner, the chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, sent a letter to 21 countries including China urging them to cut links with North Korea and push for the North to lose its UN membership.
The EU is looking into slashing the amount of money that can be wired to North Korea, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday. Officials told the daily that the cap on a single money transfer to North Korea could be lowered from 15,000 euros to 5,000.
The move stems from concerns that the wages of North Korean workers overseas are being sent back to the North to fund its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
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