Why Sweden’s embassy staff have left North Korea

Why Sweden's embassy staff have left North Korea
File photo of Pyongyang. Photo: Yvonne Åsell/SvD/TT
The Swedish staff at the embassy in North Korea have left the country amid reports of difficulties linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed to the TT newswire that the Swedish staff have left the country for logistical reasons.

“Yes, the posted staff including the ambassador have left the country, since we have temporarily relocated our posted diplomats for holidays and rotation,” Foreign Ministry press officer Sara Brynedal said.

The embassy remains open, staffed by local workers.

American news site NK News, which was first to report the change, said that one reason for the move however was limited freedom of movement and possibilities to receive diplomatic mail.

“The situation for diplomats and international organisations has got successively worse in recent times, including difficulties travelling, taking up diplomatic positions and similar things. This is, among other things, due to Covid-19,” Brynedal told TT.

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Asked whether the decision for the staff to leave the country was linked to North Korea's regime, she said she had no comment and that Sweden has a “functioning and continuous dialogue” with North Korea.

She added that Swedish staff would return to the Pyongyang embassy as soon as possible once this was possible.

Only a few countries have diplomatic ties with North Korea, meaning Sweden plays an important role in representing the interests of several other countries, including the USA, Australia, Canada, and Germany.


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