North Korea to Close Hong Kong Consulate General; Financial Difficulties Drive Closure of Diplomatic Establishments Worldwide

REUTERS file photo
The flag of North Korea is seen in Geneva, Switzerland, June 20, 2017.

North Korea has notified China that it will close its consulate general in Hong Kong, according to sources familiar with North Korean internal affairs and diplomatic sources. China were notified of the planned closure in the middle of this month.

There are also plans to close more than a dozen North Korean diplomatic establishments in Africa and elsewhere, they said. Financial difficulties are believed to be the main reason for the planned closures.

The consulate general in Hong Kong has been a base for the country to obtain foreign currency and procure goods. North Korea is believed to have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the office due to the high cost of living in the region.

There is a possibility that North Korean traders living in China will take over the consulate’s duties in the future.

Regarding the closure of diplomatic establishments in Africa, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday, citing Ugandan media, that North Korea’s ambassador to Uganda told Uganda’s president of plans to close its embassy in the country. The closure is part of efforts to “increase the efficiency of the country’s external institutions,” according to the report.