Kuwait orders North Korea's ambassador to leave within a month

KUWAIT (REUTERS) - Kuwait has ordered North Korea's ambassador to leave within a month as the Gulf country downgraded diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, a North Korean diplomat in the Gulf region said on Sunday (Sept 17).

The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions after North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test this month, and the United States called on countries to sever diplomatic and financial ties with it.

The diplomat, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that Ambassador So Chang Sik will leave following Kuwait's decision to downgrade the North Korean diplomatic representation to charge d'affaires level.

However, Mr So was already planning to leave at the end of September because he has ended his term, the diplomat added.

Kuwaiti officials did not immediately respond when asked to comment.

Kuwait, where around 3,000 North Koreans live, has been hosting North Korea's sole diplomatic mission in the Gulf region.

Kuwait's announcement comes after US President Donald Trump met with the Gulf state's ruler in Washington earlier this month.

Last month, the Gulf country stopped direct flights to and from Pyongyang as well as halted entrance visas and commercial licences, state news agency KUNA reported, citing an official at the Foreign Ministry.

The Kuwait Foreign Ministry said at the time that it was committed to implementing Security Council resolutions on North Korea, adding that it had stopped loans to the Asian state, banned imports and cut the numbers of its diplomats in the country.

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