Foreign relations of North Korea

Foreign relations of North Korea
North Korea

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The foreign relations of North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) are often tense and unpredictable. Since the Korean War armistice in 1953, the North Korean government has been largely isolationist, becoming one of the world's most authoritarian societies. Ever since North Korea signed the Armistice Agreement with the United Nations Command, it has maintained relations with China, Russia, and often limited relations with other nations. It has not maintained relations with other countries such as Japan, the United States, or South Korea.

Both Korean governments claim that the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) is only a temporary administrative line, not a permanent border. A demilitarised zone (DMZ) extends 2,000 meters (about 1.25 miles) on both sides of the MDL.


Foreign policy

As Third World countries increased their influence in the arena of world politics and Soviet–American détente created opportunities for countries in both blocs, North Korea declared 1972 a year of diplomacy.[1] The DPRK used two strategies: first, it reached out to African countries where China had already established economic and diplomatic influence. Second, North Korea established diplomatic relations with capitalist countries in an effort to develop its economy. Unlike China, which established new ties across a broad political spectrum, North Korea concentrated its diplomatic efforts in Europe with those countries with a strong communist or socialist party, such as Finland, West Germany, Sweden, and Denmark[2] As result, North Korea established its diplomatic relations with 66 countries in a decade.

North Korea has a history of poor relations with western-friendly neighboring countries. During the 1970s and 1980s, North Korean abductions of Japanese and South Koreans occurred. Although having since partly resolved the issue by admitting its role in the abductions, it remains a contentious issue with the two countries. In addition, the United States accuses North Korea of producing large numbers of high-quality counterfeit U.S. bills. South Korea had maintained a Sunshine policy towards North Korea since the 1990s, stressing Korean reunification and thus often going to great lengths to avoid antagonizing the leadership of the country. This policy ended in 2009.

Since the late 1980s, North Korea's nuclear program has become a pressing issue in international affairs. After allegations from the United States about the continued existence of a military nuclear program in defiance of the 1994 Agreed Framework, North Korea allegedly admitted to the existence of uranium enrichment activities during a private meeting with American military officials. Afterwards, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty on January 10, 2003. After insisting on bilateral negotiations with the United States, it agreed to six-party talks between itself, the United States, South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan in August 2003. The talks continued for two years until an agreement was reached on September 19, 2005, which was placed under severe strain by the subsequent nuclear test by North Korea in October 2006. Since then, a very similar agreement was reached on February 13, 2007, that includes normalizing US-North Korean and Japanese-North Korean diplomatic ties on the condition that North Korea freeze its Yongbyon nuclear facility.[3][4]

After 1945, the Soviet Union supplied the economic and military aid that enabled North Korea to mount its invasion of the South in 1950. Soviet aid and influence continued at a high level during the Korean war; as mentioned, the Soviet Union was largely responsible for rebuilding North Korea's economy after the cessation of hostilities. In addition, the assistance of Chinese volunteers during the war and the presence of these troops until 1958 gave China some degree of influence in North Korea. In 1961, North Korea concluded formal mutual security treaties with the Soviet Union (inherited by Russia) and China, which have not been formally ended. For most of the Cold War, North Korea followed a policy of equidistance between the Soviet Union and China by accepting favors from both while avoiding a clear preference for either.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, the Soviet-backed Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan created strains between China and the Soviet Union and, in turn, in North Korea's relations with its two major communist allies. North Korea tried to avoid becoming embroiled in the Sino-Soviet split, obtaining aid from both the Soviet Union and China and trying to avoid dependence on either. Following Kim Il Sung's 1984 visit to Moscow, there was a dramatic improvement in Soviet-DPRK relations, resulting in renewed deliveries of advanced Soviet weaponry to North Korea and increases in economic aid.

South Korea established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1990 and the People's Republic of China in 1992, which put a serious strain on relations between North Korea and its traditional allies. Moreover, the fall of communism in eastern Europe in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 had resulted in a significant drop in communist aid to North Korea, resulting in largely decreased relations with Russia. Despite these changes and its past reliance on this military and economic assistance, North Korea proclaims a militantly independent stance in its foreign policy in accordance with its official ideology of Juche, or self-reliance.

At the same time, North Korea maintains membership in a variety of multilateral organizations. It became a member of the United Nations in September 1991. North Korea also belongs to the Food and Agriculture Organization; the International Civil Aviation Organization; the International Postal Union; the UN Conference on Trade and Development; the ITU; the UN Development Programme; the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; the World Health Organization; the World Intellectual Property Organization; the World Meteorological Organization; the International Maritime Organization; the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Non-Aligned Movement.

In July 2000, North Korea began participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), as Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun attended the ARF ministerial meeting in Bangkok July 26–27. The DPRK also expanded its bilateral diplomatic ties in that year, establishing diplomatic relations with Italy, Australia, and the Philippines. The United Kingdom established diplomatic relations with the DPRK on December 13, 2000,[5] as did Canada in February, 2001[6] followed by Germany and New Zealand on March 1, 2001.[7][8] Mexico maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea. Other countries such as France, the United States, and South American nations do not have formal diplomatic ties with North Korea and have not announced any intention to have any. North Korea, however, maintains a delegation, not an embassy, near Paris.

Steps have been taken to normalize US and Japanese ties since the landmark February 13, 2007 agreement reached, in exchange for North Korea freezing its nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

North Korea fired short-range missiles off its western coast March 28, 2008, told a South Korean defense source. South Korea's presidential office dismissed reports of the missile launches as part of "ordinary military training" by the communist state. On March 27, 2008, the Seoul-government pulled 11 of its diplomats from an industrial park the two countries operate in North Korea. Their departure followed comments made in the week of March 17, 2008 by South Korean Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong. He said it would be hard to expand the industrial complex without North Korean progress on denuclearization.[9]

The US Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missiles or other weapons to Myanmar and made it turn back, a senior US official said Monday. The comments by Gary Samore, special assistant to President Barack Obama on weapons of mass destruction, confirmed reports of the incident, which happened last month, in The New York Times and South Korean media. The New York Times said the ship was intercepted south of the Chinese city of Shanghai by a US destroyer on May 26, 2011.

Reunification efforts

In August 1971, both North and South Korea agreed to hold talks through their respective Red Cross societies with the aim of reuniting the many Korean families separated following the division of Korea after the Korean War. After a series of secret meetings, both sides announced on July 4, 1972, an agreement to work toward peaceful reunification and an end to the hostile atmosphere prevailing on the peninsula. Officials exchanged visits, and regular communications were established through a North-South coordinating committee and the Red Cross.

However, these initial contacts broke down and ended in 1973 following the announcement by South Korean President Park Chung Hee that the South would seek separate entry into the United Nations and the kidnapping of South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-Jung in Tokyo by the South Korean intelligence service. There was no other significant contact between North and South Korea until 1984.

Dialogue was renewed on several fronts in September 1984, when South Korea accepted the North's offer to provide relief goods to victims of severe flooding in South Korea. Red Cross talks to address the plight of separated families resumed, as did talks on economic and trade issues and parliamentary-level discussions. However, the North then unilaterally suspended all talks in January 1986, arguing that the annual US-South Korea "Team Spirit" military exercise was inconsistent with dialogue. There was a brief flurry of negotiations on co-hosting the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which ended in failure, and were followed by the 1987 KAL Flight 858 bombing.

In a major initiative in July 1988, South Korean President Roh Tae Woo called for new efforts to promote North-South exchanges, family reunification, inter-Korean trade and contact in international forums. Roh followed up this initiative in a UN General Assembly speech in which South Korea offered to discuss security matters with the North for the first time.

Initial meetings that grew out of Roh's proposals started in September 1989. In September 1990, the first of eight prime minister-level meetings between North Korean and South Korean officials took place in Seoul, beginning an especially fruitful period of dialogue. The prime ministerial talks resulted in two major agreements: the Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, Exchanges, and Cooperation (the Basic Agreement) and the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (the Joint Declaration).

The Basic Agreement, signed on December 13, 1991, called for reconciliation and nonaggression established four joint commissions. These commissions - on South-North reconciliation, South-North military affairs, South-North economic exchanges and cooperation, and South-North social and cultural exchange - were to work out the specifics for implementing the general terms of the Basic Agreement. Sub-committees to examine specific issues were created and liaison offices established in Panmunjom, but in the fall of 1992 the process came to a halt because of rising tension over the nuclear issue.

The Joint Declaration on denuclearization was initiated on December 31, 1991. It forbade both sides to test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons and forbade the possession of nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities. A procedure for inter-Korean inspection was to be organized and a North-South Joint Nuclear Control Commission (JNCC) was mandated with verification of the denuclearization of the peninsula.

On January 30, 1992, the DPRK also signed a nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA, as it had pledged to do in 1985 when acceding to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This safeguards agreement allowed IAEA inspections to begin in June 1992. In March 1992, the JNCC was established in accordance with the Joint Declaration, but subsequent meetings failed to reach agreement on the main issue of establishing a bilateral inspection regime.

As the 1990s progressed, concern over the North's nuclear program became a major issue in North-South relations and between North Korea and the US. The lack of progress on implementation of the joint nuclear declaration's provision for an inter-Korean nuclear inspection regime led to reinstatement of the U.S.-South Korea Team Spirit military exercise for 1993. The situation worsened rapidly when North Korea, in January 1993, refused IAEA access to two suspected nuclear waste sites and then announced in March 1993 its intent to withdraw from the NPT. During the next 2 years, the US held direct talks with the DPRK. that resulted in a series of agreements on nuclear matters (see, under U.S. Policy Toward North Korea, U.S. Efforts on Denuclearization). During former US President Jimmy Carter's 1994 visit, Kim Il Sung agreed to a first-ever North-South summit. The two sides went ahead with plans for a meeting in July but had to shelve it because of Kim's death.

Eleven South Korean diplomats left an industrial park, in the North Korean city of Kaesong, near the border between the two nations their country runs with North Korea on March 27, 2008 after North Korea demanded their withdrawal. Their departure follows comments made in the week of March 17, 2008 by South Korean Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong. He said it would be hard to expand the industrial complex without North Korean progress on denuclearization.[10]

Nuclear program

5 MWe experimental reactor at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center

North Korea's nuclear research program started with Soviet help in the 1960s, on condition that it joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In the 1980s an indigenous nuclear reactor development program started with a small experimental 5MWe gas cooled reactor in Yongbyon, with a 50MWe and 200MWe reactor to follow.

Concerns that North Korea had non-civilian nuclear ambitions were first raised in the late 1980s and almost resulted in their withdrawal from the NPT in 1994. However, the Agreed Framework and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) temporarily resolved this crisis by having the US and several other countries agree that in exchange for dismantling its nuclear program, two light-water reactors (LWRs) would be provided with moves toward normalization of political and economic relations.

This agreement started to break down from 2001 because of slow progress on the KEDO light-water reactor project and the U.S. President George W. Bush Axis of Evil speech. North Korea announced it would withdraw from the NPT in 2003 after the US in late 2002 stopped Agreed Framework interim oil supplies to North Korea and accused North Korea of continuing its nuclear weapons program in contravention of the NPT. North Korea denied these allegations and insisted upon its right to produce nuclear energy for civilian purposes, as allowed by the NPT.

Following this withdrawal, North Korea's neighbours quickly sought a diplomatic solution to an escalating crisis. This resulted in a series of meetings held periodically in Beijing from 2003, known as the six-party talks. Its success has been questioned as US-NK bilateral relations have been the main aggravating factor. For example, North Korea declared on February 10, 2005 that it had nuclear weapons. On October 6, 2006, North Korea then announced it had successfully detonated a nuclear bomb. In response, the US froze North Korean bank assets. This resulted in a 13-month postponement of the six-party talks until mid-December, 2006. The third (and last) phase of the fifth round of six-party talks have been held on 8 February 2007, and implementation of the agreement reached at the end of the round has been successful according to the requirements of steps to be taken by all six parties within 30 days, and within 60 days after the agreement, including normalization of US-North Korean and Japanese-Korean diplomatic ties, among other things. At the time of writing, the 30 days commitments have generally been met by all parties, with further talks due to be scheduled.

North Korea threatened to bolster its nuclear deterrent on March 3, 2008 in response to U.S.-South Korean war games, striking a discordant note after a week of cultural diplomacy that raised hopes of warmer ties between Washington and Pyongyang, with the 2008 New York Philharmonic visit to North Korea. [2]

U.S. intelligence officials told members of the United States Congress on April 24, 2008 that North Korea was helping Syria to build a nuclear facility, which was bombed by Israeli planes in September 2007. It is less clear whether North Korea had provided or was about to provide essential fuel components to Syria. [3]

Territorial disputes

The Demarcation Line provides a tense border with South Korea. In addition, a 33 km section of boundary with China in the Baekdu Mountain area is indefinite. North Korea also currently claims sovereignty over the entire Korean peninsula.


North Korea is one of the few countries in which the giving of presents still plays a significant role in diplomatic protocol. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) regularly reports that Kim Jong-il has received a floral basket or gift from a foreign leader or organization.[11] The announcements never mention what sort of gift, but Kim has a large collection of cultural and other souvenirs from leaders all over the world, which is partly or entirely on public display. During a 2000 visit to Pyongyang, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave Kim a basketball signed by Michael Jordan as he takes an interest in NBA basketball.[12]

North Korea's diplomacy with the United States and Japan is marked by frequent dire warnings through KCNA about its military capabilities. It regards seemingly minor statements and actions in these countries as declarations of renewed war and more than once has responded by threatening to turn South Korea into a "sea of fire" by firing its artillery along the DMZ at Seoul.[13][14]

North Korea's lack of trade is felt strongly in vast poverty-stricken regions, resulting in almost NZD$8.5 million of aid to various organizations that assist in the development of farming regions and humanitarian assistance.[8]

The 2008 New York Philharmonic visit to North Korea marked the first presentation of a major U.S. cultural group to North Koreans. It has been suggested that the North Korean government is using the international Unification Church, led by North Korean Sun Myung Moon, to make contact with possible supporters and investors in other countries; as the Soviet Union did with Armand Hammer.[15]

Bilateral relations

South-North Korean relations

In the decades following the Korean War, relations between North and South Korea have gone through ups and downs. As the South's economy grew to gain "Asian Tiger" status, it took steps to reach out to the North. The South sent food and other aid to the North, but it also took a softer stance on the North's nuclear weapons programme.[16]

In October 2008, however, the North ratcheted up its war talk in response to an alleged Southern "smear campaign." The North's military warned the South to end its alleged policy of confrontation and threatened to turn the South into "debris" if it continued. A North Korea military spokesperson said that "the puppet authorities had better bear in mind that the advanced preemptive strike of our own style will reduce everything opposed to the nation and reunification to debris, not just setting them on fire."

This turn of events came just one day after a rare face-to-face meeting between the two countries' military officials at the behest of the North, to discuss ways of improving communications between military commanders on both sides. No progress was made on the issue, however.[17]

European Union

France and Estonia are the only EU countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the DPRK.[18] After 1989, the DPRK retained most of its diplomatic relations with the former Warsaw Pact countries. In 1993 and 1995 it made outreach efforts into Western Europe, as well as implementing a joint venture law in 1984 which was unsuccessful. The DPRK held its first working-level meetings with the EU in Brussels in 1998. Between 2000 and 2001, it established diplomatic relations with Italy, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.


In January 2008, North Korea closed its embassy in Canberra, citing financial difficulties. Embassy spokesman Pak Myong Guk explained: "We now have to close [our embassy] because of financial issues. It is very difficult to send money [from Pyongyang] to Australian banks." Australia and North Korea maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.[19]

In a 2003 event dubbed the "Pong Su incident", a North Korean cargo ship allegedly attempting to smuggle heroin into Australia was seized by Australian officials, strengthening Australia's and the United States's suspicions that Pyongyang engages in international drug smuggling. The North Korean government denied any involvement.[20]


Bulgaria and North Korea generally have good relations. Diplomatic relations between the countries were established on 29 November 1948, and a bilateral agreement on cultural and scientific cooperation was signed in 1970. Kim Il-Sung visited the People's Republic of Bulgaria for the first time in the 1950s, and again in 1975. Bulgarian volunteers provided basic aid to North Korea during the Korean war by providing items such as clothing and foodstuffs.[21] Even after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the countries retained active diplomatic relations. The foreign language institute in Pyongyang maintains a Bulgarian language department. In the past, the two countries also cooperated closely in the sphere of sports, and still maintain such cooperation albeit to a lesser degree.


Canada and North Korea share very little trade due to the destabilizing element North Korea has caused in the Asia Pacific region.[citation needed] Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on February 2001. However there are no official embassies between the two nations. Canada is represented by the Canadian Ambassador resident in Seoul, and North Korea is represented through their position in the United Nations. On May 25, 2010, Canada suspended diplomatic relations with North Korea.[22]

People's Republic of China

The two countries are generally perceived to be on friendly terms. In June 2008, the Council on Foreign Relations described China as "North Korea's most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food, arms, and fuel", adding that "Pyongyang is economically dependent on China", which, "since the early 1990s, [...] has accounted for nearly 90 percent of the country’s energy imports". The investments by Chinese firms in the DPRK currently account for an estimated 1.5 billion.[23]


Denmark is represented in North Korea through its embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.[24]


Relations between the French Republic and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are officially non-existent. France is one of only two European Union members not to maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea, the other being Estonia.[18] There is no French embassy, nor any other type of French diplomatic representation, in Pyongyang, and no DPRK embassy in Paris, although a North Korean diplomatic office is located in nearby Neuilly sur Seine.[25][26]

France's official position is that it will consider establishing diplomatic relations with DPRK if and when the latter abandons its nuclear weapons programme and improves its human rights record.[25]



Iran-North Korea relations are described as being positive by official news agencies of the two countries. Iran and North Korea have pledged cooperation in educational, scientific, and cultural spheres.[27]


North Korea does not recognize the state of Israel; instead, it recognizes the sovereignty of the Palestinian National Authority over the territory held by Israel. Over the years, North Korea has supplied missile technology to Israel's rivals, including Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Egypt. Syria, which has a history of confrontations with Israel, has long maintained a relationship with North Korea based on the cooperation between their respective nuclear programs. North Korea has criticized Israel for invading Syrian airspace and for its actions in the Gaza War. On September 6, 2007, the Israeli Air Force conducted an airstrike on a target in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. According to Media and IAEA investigative reports, 10 North Korean nuclear scientists were killed during the airstrike.


Japanese-North Korean relations A legacy of bitterness exists in Japan's relations with North Korea, stemming from Japanese colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945.

Bilaterally and through the Six-Party Talks, North Korea and Japan continue to discuss issues surrounding the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.


North Korea–Mongolia relations date back to 1948, when the Mongolian People's Republic recognised Kim Il-sung's Soviet-backed government in the North. Mongolia also provided assistance to the North during the Korean War. The two countries signed their first friendship and cooperation treaty in 1986.[28] Kim Il-sung also paid a visit to the country in 1988.[29] However, relations became strained after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The two countries nullified their earlier friendship and cooperation treaty in 1995, and in 1999, North Korea closed its embassy in Ulan Bator during an official visit by Kim Dae-jung, the first-ever such visit by a South Korean president.[28] At that point, Mongolia began intensifying its engagement with North Korea to improve relations.[30] In 2001, Mongolia expelled two North Korean diplomats for attempting to pass counterfeit US $100 bills.[31]

New Zealand

Relations between the two countries have been almost non-existent since the establishment of the current dictatorship in North Korea. During the 1950s, New Zealand fought against North Korea in the Korean War, siding with the United States and South Korea. Since then, New Zealand had little contact with the DPRK until 2001, when the New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff met with his Korean counterpart Paek Nam-sun. Diplomatic relations were established shortly thereafter. New Zealand does not have an official ambassador to North Korea; diplomatic relations between the two countries are handled by the New Zealand ambassador to South Korea.[32]

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters took a trip to Pyongyang on November 20, 2007. The Foreign Affairs Minister had talks with President Kim Yong-nam in his two-day visit to the communist regime. Areas of in which New Zealand is looking to co-operate could include agriculture, training and conservation.


Pakistan maintains warm diplomatic and trade relations with North Korea. The start of relations between the two countries emerged sometime in the 1970s during the rule of Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. North Korea maintains an embassy in Islamabad. Relations between the two countries are reported to be strong in both civilian and military spheres[citation needed]. North Korea has supplied missile technology to Pakistan. Pakistan has provided nuclear technology to North Korea.


In 2000, the Philippines and North Korea finally established diplomatic relations after more than 20 years of negotiations, although trade between the two countries is almost non-existent, as they both still have a trade embargo.

In 2007, the agreement was boosted further and was signed by Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun during the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila.[33]

Philippines has a representation in Pyongyang, thru embassy in Beijing; and North Korea has a representation thru its embassy in Bangkok.


Poland is one of the few countries that maintain diplomatic and limited trading (fishing) relations with Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Relations between the two countries began on 16 October 1948. Poland maintains an embassy in Pyongyang, one of only a few EU embassies in DPRK including the Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian, German, British and Swedish embassies.


Portugal and North Korea have a good relationship, in part due to the former Portuguese colony of Macau. One of Kim Jong-il's sons, in addition to his North Korean citizenship, holds Portuguese citizenship from the time he lived in Macau. Kim Yong Nam has made statements affirming the good relationship between the two countries, such as the condolences he gave then-President Jorge Sampaio when Francisco da Costa Gomes died [4], and the congratulations he extended to President Cavaco Silva after he won the Portuguese elections.[34]


Russia-North Korea relations are determined by Russia’s strategic interests in Korea and the goal of preserving peace and stability in the Korean peninsula. Russia’s official position, and by extension its stance on settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis, is that it stands firmly behind a peaceful resolution of the crisis, achieved through diplomacy and negotiation.[citation needed]


Serbia maintains cordial and friendly relations with North Korea. Relations between the two countries started in 1948 under the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. Relations between the two countries are still strong in terms of political and military. The North Korean embassy to Serbia is accrediteed to Sofia, Bulgaria.


Spain and North Korea relationships are good as Alejandro Cao de Benos de Les y Pérez, the president of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) has approached North Korea. However, there is no official government affiliation with The Korean Friendship Association.

South Sudan

North Korea and South Sudan established diplomatic relations in November 2011.[35]


Sweden was the first Western country to open an embassy in North Korea. The embassy is located in Pyongyang, and "Sweden serves as the interim consular protecting power for American, Finnish, Canadian and Australian interests in North Korea."[36]


Turkey has good relations with South Korea since the Korean war. Indeed Turkey sent soldiers to help South Korea against North Korean invasion. Turkey had not any diplomatic relation with North Korea before 2001. Upon the start of talks between South and North Korea in 2000 some steps have been taken to facilitate the relationship with North Korea. Parallel to the official statements made in 2001 in Beinjing (China) between Turkish and North Korean embassies, Turkey has recognized North Korea since this year. And on January 15, 2001 both countries established diplomatic relations.[37] Turkey is represented in North Korea through its embassy in Beijing (China). North Korea is represented in Turkey through its embassy in Sofia (Bulgaria).

United Kingdom

Following initial progress in North Korea – South Korea relations, North Korea and the United Kingdom established diplomatic relations on December 12, 2000, opening resident embassies in London and Pyongyang. The United Kingdom provides English language and human rights training to DPRK officials, urging the North Korean government to allow a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, and it oversees bilateral humanitarian projects in North Korea.[38]

To mark the tenth anniversary of North Korea's relations with the United Kingdom, an edited version of the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham was broadcast on North Korean state television on 26 December 2010. The British Ambassador to South Korea, Martin Uden, posted on Twitter that it was the "1st ever Western-made film to air on TV" in North Korea.[39]

United States

North Korea – United States relations developed primarily during the Korean War, but in recent years have been largely defined by the United States' suspicions regarding North Korea's nuclear programs and North Korea's desire to normalize relations with the United States, tempered by its stated perception of an imminent U.S. attack. Although hostility between the two countries remains largely a product of Cold War politics, there were earlier conflicts and animosity between the United States and Korea. In the mid-19th century, Korea closed its borders to Western trade. In the General Sherman Incident, Korean forces attacked a U.S. gunboat sent to negotiate a trade treaty and killed its crew, after it defied instructions from Korean officials. A U.S. retribution attack, the Sinmiyangyo, followed.


Students from North Vietnam began going to North Korea to study as early as the 1960s, even before the formal establishment of Korean-language education in their country.[40] The former Vietnamese ambassador to South Korea is a graduate of North Korea's Kim Il-sung University.[41] The son of a former staff member in the Vietnamese embassy in Pyongyang, who also attended Kim Il-sung University between 1998 and 2002, gave an interview in 2004 with South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo about the experiences he had while living there.[42]

Both North and South Korea lent material and manpower support to their respective ideological allies during the Vietnam War, though the number of South Korean troops on the ground was larger.[43] [44] As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966, in early 1967 North Korea sent a fighter squadron to North Vietnam to back up the North Vietnamese 921st and 923rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi. They stayed through 1968; 200 pilots were reported to have served.[44] In addition, at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. North Korea also sent weapons, ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam.[45] Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own".[46][47][48]


In October 1980, Kim Il-sung and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe signed an agreement for an exchange of soldiers. Following this agreement, 106 North Korean soldiers arrived in Zimbabwe to train a brigade of soldiers that became known as the Fifth Brigade.

International organizations

North Korea is a member of the following international organisations[49]:


See also


  1. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, White Paper 2009, MOFAT, op. cited
  2. ^ Tae-un Kim, “북한의 대 EU 수교 현황과 그 배경 [Status of North Korea’s diplomatic ties with EU and its background], ” 한국정치정보학회 (2001)
  3. ^ "Rice hails N Korea nuclear deal". BBC News. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  4. ^ Scanlon, Charles (2007-02-13). "The end of a long confrontation?". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  5. ^ FCO: Country Profile: North Korea
  6. ^ - Bilateral Relations Canada-DPRK - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  7. ^ Auswärtiges Amt: Länderinformation
  8. ^ a b North Korea - Country Information Paper - NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  9. ^ "Report: North Korea test-fires missiles", CNN, March 28, 2008
  10. ^ "Pyongyang pressures S. Korean envoys to leave", CNN, March 27, 2008
  11. ^ Past news
  12. ^ Perlez, Jane (2000-10-25). "ALBRIGHT REPORTS PROGRESS IN TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  13. ^ "North Korea threatens "sea of fire" if attacked". BBC. 1999-01-22. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  14. ^ "North Korea threatens a 'sea of fire' as the South begins posturing war games with US". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd. 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  15. ^ Moonies step into Kim's world, The Independent, 1994-07-26
  16. ^ Huntington, Samuel. Clash of Civilizations.
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b Source: DPRK Diplomatic Relations - The National Committee on North Korea
  19. ^ "N Korea to close its lonely embassy", The Australian, January 26, 2008
  20. ^ "N Korean heroin ship sunk by jet". BBC News. 2006-03-23. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  21. ^ Дума - Деветдесет и две годишната Василка Никифорова е превърнала дома си в библиотека, посветена на Ким Ир Сен -
  22. ^
  23. ^ "The China-North Korea Relationship", Council for Foreign Relations, June 18, 2008
  24. ^ "KOREA, DEN DEMOKRATISKE FOLKEREPUBLIK". Ministry Of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. 
  25. ^ a b Official website of the French National Assembly
  26. ^ Address of the North Korean diplomatic representation in France
  27. ^ "Result of Iranian delegation visit to N Korea positive". IRNA. 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  28. ^ a b "Mongolia, N. Korea sign friendship treaty". Kyodo. 12 August 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  29. ^ Ch., Sumiyabazar (20 July 2007). "North Korean Kim visits Mongolia". The UB Post. Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  30. ^ Batchimeg, Migeddorj (March/April 2006). "Mongolia's DPRK Policy: Engaging North Korea". Asian Survey 46 (2): 275–297. doi:10.1525/as.2006.46.2.275. 
  31. ^ Foster-Carter, Aidan (16 June 2001). "Pyongyang Watch". Asia Times. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  32. ^ North Korea - Country Information Paper - NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  33. ^ [1] Philippines, North Korea agree to boost bilateral relations
  34. ^
  35. ^ N. Korea, South Sudan establish full diplomatic ties, Yonhap News
  36. ^ Embassies in North Korea, read 2011-04-08
  37. ^
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