Wednesday 9/22/21

Sweden keeps embassy in North Korea open despite exodus of staff

"The aim is that our diplomats will return to North Korea," a Foreign Ministry spokesman told.

06 August 2020, North Korea, Unpha: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) meets with residents at a flood-ravaged village in Unpha. Photo: YNA/dpa.
File Photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) during a recent meeting with residents at a flood-ravaged village in Unpha. Photo: YNA/dpa.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday its embassy in North Korea remains open, despite diplomats having "temporarily left" the country due to scheduled holidays and regular rotation of diplomatic staff.

The clarification follows media reports suggesting Swedish staff had left due to coronavirus restrictions in the reclusive Asian nation.

The situation for diplomats and organizations has been hampered by virus restrictions, but the current situation was "simply due to holidays and the rotation of staff," Foreign Ministry spokesman Anton Dahlquist told.

"The Swedish embassy in Pyongyang is still open and locally employed staff are there," he added.

Dahlquist noted that Sweden and North Korea still have diplomatic ties, and that the North Korean embassy in Stockholm was still open.

Diplomats to return

"The aim is that our diplomats will return to North Korea," he said.

The Scandinavian country has had an embassy in North Korea since the early 1970s and represents US diplomatic interests in Pyongyang.

Stockholm has also hosted meetings between officials from North Korea and the United States in recent years, including one preceding a second US-North Korea summit in February 2019 between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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