UAE closes North Korean diplomatic mission, terminates own services in Pyongyang

A waitress poses by a book entitled in Arabic "Kim Jong Un", at a North Korean restaurant in Dubai. PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (REUTERS) - The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday (Oct 12) it was ending the mission of North Korea's non-resident ambassador and terminating its own envoy's services in Pyongyang, the foreign ministry said, in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.

The UAE would also stop issuing new visas or company licences to North Korean citizens, WAM added.

Several thousand North Korean workers reside in the US-allied Gulf region, mainly working on construction sites.

"The measures... come within the context of its obligation as a responsible member of the international community to strengthen the international will and to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile programmes", the ministry said.

US President Donald Trump urged United Nations member states last month to turn up the pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, using his maiden speech to the world body to address what he has said is the top global challenge.

North Korea's nuclear tests and missile launches have stirred global tensions and prompted several rounds of international sanctions at the UN Security Council.

The announcement follows similar moves by the UAE's Gulf Arab neighbours Qatar and Kuwait, which last month downgraded their ties with Pyongyang and ceased issuing new visas to North Korean citizens.

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