June 02, 2023

North Korean diplomats and the illegal ivory trade

A look into the DPRK’s involvement in the illegal ivory, rhino horn trade for hard currency

During the Cold War, Africa occupied a unique place in the North Korean consciousness, as it was a battleground with South Korea for votes in the United Nations, followers of its Juche ideology, and the recognition of Pyongyang as the legitimate Korean government.

In contrast to the present situation, in which  the North Korean government receives aid from humanitarian organizations and foreign governments, from the mid-1960s through the early ’90s North Korea poured military and financial resources into Africa hoping to sway newly independent countries to recognize the leadership in Pyongyang as the official representative of the Korean people. As a result, North Korea set up dozens of embassies in sub-Saharan Africa from Conakry, Guinea to Pretoria, South Africa.