North Korea is shutting embassies

Featured in The Economist

Sanctions on North Korea


The fact that Angola and Uganda expelled North Korean diplomats in 2017 for minor sanctions violations might seem to support that. Yet the embassies’ closure does not necessarily mean the dodgy activities they facilitated will end, says Daniel Salisbury of the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank in London. Some North Korean sanctions-breakers might find it easier to work away from the scrutiny that embassies attract. Moreover, new sources of illicit revenue for the hermit kingdom, including cryptocurrency theft and North Korea’s recent large weapons sale to Russia, may have made its traditional income streams less important.