North to close embassy in Australia next month

Unlike most other nations’ embassies, North Korean offices must not only self-finance their operations but they must also send money back home.  It looks like they were finding it hard to make a living in Canberra.  Though an enjoyable town, Canberra is so far from most of the economic action in Australia that they were probably unable to close any deals.  In the future, they should consider opening a consulate in Sydney–if they can afford the rent.

Joong Ang Daily
1/23/2008

North Korea can’t afford the bills anymore, so it will close its embassy here, Australia’s foreign ministry said yesterday.

North Korean diplomats informed Australian officials in November that the four-person embassy, located in a diplomatic quarter of Australia’s capital Canberra, would shut in February.

“The embassy advised that they plan to continue with non-resident diplomatic accreditation from Jakarta,” a foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters. The mission said in a letter it was closing due to “financial reasons.”

“The DPRK said it would consider reopening if its financial situation improves,” the spokesman said, referring to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Australia is one of few Western countries to have diplomatic ties with the reclusive state. Pyongyang opened its embassy in May 2002.

In September 2006, Australia announced sanctions against 12 companies and one person connected with financing Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, including a visa ban on North Korean nationals and on North Korean shipping.

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