North Korea has opened an Embassy in Minsk, despite vague public statements from the Belarusian government and South Korean reports to the contrary, NK News has learned.
North Korean state media announced the opening of an embassy in a report published on September 21, but the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) reported that “Belarus has officially denied North Korea’s claim.”
But NK News has learned that an embassy has indeed been opened, that the DPRK Embassy in Russia no longer has non-residential status for Belarus as a result and that, while the Embassy does exist, it is not yet fully operational.
A North Korean working delegation visited Belarus from September 18-20 and attended the opening of an embassy in Minsk on September 19, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“A department director of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus said the inauguration of the DPRK Embassy is of great significance in boosting the long-standing friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries,” the KCNA article reported.
The Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also posted a statement regarding the delegation’s visit on September 19, but it has since been removed from the government’s website.
“On September 19, 2016 the Head of the Department of Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Andrei Grinkevich, met with the Director of the Third Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, O Son Ho,” the statement read.
“During the meeting, the sides discussed issues of the development of bilateral relations of the countries, cooperation on the international arena, as well as the opening of the DPRK Embassy in Belarus,” it concluded.
A public statement by a spokesperson from the MFA addressing KCNA’s claims was vaguely worded, but at no point was an official denial issued.
The statement includes an assessment that opening an embassy is standard diplomatic practice, that North Korea has embassies around the world, and that North Korea and Belarus have been discussing the subject of an embassy for a while.
“There is no fully operational North Korean Embassy in Belarus: the ambassador has not been accredited. The question of this matter will be discussed separately,” spokesperson Dmitry Mironchik said in the statement published on the website.
Featured Image: Minsk by fishwasher on 2015-10-02 10:03:14