North Korea recognized Crimea as part of the Russia Federation in a new political atlas released by the country’s Scientific Encyclopedia publishing house, the Russia Embassy in the DPRK posted on social media on Thursday.
The map shows the territory with no border with Russia, with both countries colored identically.
“We noticed that the Crimea peninsula has already been painted in Russian colors,” the Russian embassy said in a translation by Sputnik news agency which hailed the move as the DPRK recognizing Russia’s sovereignty over the peninsula.
“As we explained in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, the republic respects the results of the referendum held in Crimea on the entry of the peninsula into the Russian Federation, considers its results to be legitimate and fully compliant with international legal norms.”
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, taking control of the territory and rendering it a federal subject of Moscow following a controversial referendum on the issue.
Ukraine and much of the international community do not consider the referendum or the annexation to be legitimate, with the UN adopting a non-binding resolution in March 2014 declaring vote invalid.
“Their stance on the Crimea issue is likely a bit of both supporting Moscow and opposing Washington and its allies,” NK News director of intelligence John Grisafi said.
North Korea said at the time that it considered Russia’s actions justified, while the DPRK media occasionally publishes stories that appear supportive of the move.
“In the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the U.S. and the West imposed economic sanctions against Russia and expelled it from the G-8 organization, trying in every way to lower its international standing,” an article from the Pyongyang Times published in October reads. “Of course, Russia responds strongly against them.”
In a more recent article entitled, “‘America First’ – Nazism of the 21st century,” North Korean media said Washington “is also getting on the nerves of Russia by urging it to return the Crimea to Ukraine and tightening trade embargo on it.”
The political map also does not differentiate between North and South Korea, making no mention of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) or military demarcation line (MDL), and marking Pyongyang as the capital.
Maps in both South Korea typically take a similar approach, often showing the Korean peninsula as one country.
Additional reporting: Seungmyung Roh
Featured image: Russian Embassy in North Korea
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