UAE cuts diplomatic ties with North Korea

UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the UAE has chose to stop issuing new visas to North Korean citizens and has stopped issuing licenses to North Korean companies.

The UAE statement said it also would block North Korean companies from operating in any of the seven emirates, and the UAE will end its non-resident ambassador program with North Korea.

The ministry says the measures come within the context of its obligation as a responsible member of the worldwide community to join the effort to stop North Korea's proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.

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Kuwait has North Korea's only embassy in the Gulf region.

In Washington, the US State Department welcomed the UAE's decision.

"Very happy to hear that", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a press briefing.

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The announcement by the UAE Foreign Ministry on Thursday night did not address the thousands of North Korean laborers already working in the Emirates. "There are many countries that are taking those steps that we have asked those countries to take".

In September, Kuwait gave the North Korean ambassador one month to leave the country and stopped issuing visas to all North Koreans. North Korean laborers working overseas are one of the major sources of foreign currency for Pyongyang.

"Approximately 1,000 remain, but this number will decline rapidly as their employment contracts expire".

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