In an unexpected move, North Korea has decided to close its embassy in Nepal, leading to concerns and questions about the reasons behind this decision. The North Korean Ambassador to Nepal, Jo Yong Man, relayed this news to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
Rupak Sapkota, the Prime Minister’s foreign advisor, confirmed that Ambassador Jo Yong Man informed Prime Minister Dahal of Pyongyang’s decision to shutter its embassy in Nepal. Following this meeting, preparations have commenced for the North Korean Embassy in Nepal to vacate the premises, located in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur. The embassy has also notified Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding its impending closure. It’s noteworthy that the embassy had been operating with limited staff.
Upon learning of the decision to close the North Korean embassy, Prime Minister Dahal expressed his condolences to Ambassador Jo Yong Man. Foreign Affairs Advisor Sapkota conveyed the Prime Minister’s sentiments, saying, “I am saddened by the decision to close the embassy. I hope that North Korea will soon re-open its embassy.” Advisor Sapkota was present during the discussion between Prime Minister Dahal and Ambassador Jo Yong Man.
While North Korea has maintained an embassy in Nepal, Nepal has not reciprocated by establishing an embassy in North Korea. The Nepali Embassy in Beijing, China, has been handling matters related to North Korea.
Sources indicate that North Korea’s decision to close its embassy in Nepal may be attributed to various factors, including the global political environment, geopolitical influences, and the deepening global economic recession. Following the closure of the North Korean Embassy in Nepal, the North Korean Embassy in New Delhi, India, will manage Nepal-related affairs.
Diplomatic relations between Nepal and North Korea were officially established on May 15, 1974, with North Korea inaugurating its embassy in Nepal that same year. Before the embassy’s establishment, a Bilateral Trade Agreement was signed between the two countries on December 11, 1970. Nepal, however, has not established its embassy in North Korea.
Furthermore, North Korean businesses in Nepal were shuttered in December 2019 due to UN sanctions. North Korea had been operating restaurants in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, as well as a hospital in Tanahun, and North Korean doctors were working at a hospital in Kanchanpur. The closure of these businesses was attributed to the impact of UN sanctions.
One of the Nepali business partners involved with these enterprises noted that North Korea’s decision to close its embassy might be influenced by economic difficulties, geopolitical considerations, and a strategic shift toward increased military investment.