N. Korea to close its embassy in Uganda: report
North Korea plans to close its embassy in Uganda as part of efforts to raise the operating efficiency of the country's organizations abroad, a Ugandan media report has said.
North Korea's Ambassador to Uganda, Jong Tong-hak, announced the plan during his courtesy call to Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Ugandan newsmagazine, The Independent, reported Tuesday.
Jong "informed him that North Korea has taken a strategic measure to reduce the number of embassies in Africa, Uganda inclusive in order to increase the efficiency of the country's external institutions," the report said.
North Korea's embassy in Equatorial Guinea will handle the country's diplomatic affairs with Uganda, it added.
The exact reason behind the North's planned embassy closure in Uganda is not known, but it could be related to economic difficulties caused by prolonged global sanctions on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
In 2016, North Korea withdrew its military officers from Uganda after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni pledged to cut all military ties with North Korea in a surprise announcement during summit talks with then South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Museveni has visited Pyongyang three times and met with North Korea's founder Kim Il-Sung, the late grandfather of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea and Uganda set up a diplomatic relationship in 1963, but they re-established it in July 1972, eight years after cutting ties in 1964 for an unknown reason.
Pyongyang has been strengthening its ties with Uganda and other African nations as it faces diplomatic isolation under multiple United Nations Security Council sanctions.
North Korea's close relations with some African countries date back to the days of Kim Il-sung, who was active in establishing friendly ties with African nations amid the Non-Aligned Movement against imperialism in the late 20th century. (Yonhap)