STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden said on Tuesday it had actually temporarily withdrawn all its diplomats from North Korea, where its embassy likewise represents the interests of the United States and numerous other countries, partially due to problems linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
Most other Western countries which have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, consisting of Germany, Britain and France, have already pulled staff out briefly, citing the trouble of turning staff and generating supplies throughout the pandemic.
Sweden acts as the consular representative of the United States, Australia and Canada, to name a few, in North Korea. The Swedish foreign ministry stated its embassy in Pyongyang stays open and staffed by local workers.
” What has happened is that we have relocated our diplomats, either as an outcome of vacations or rotation,” a ministry spokesman stated, adding that the scenario was short-lived.
” But naturally, the situation has become more hard … as an outcome, among other things, of COVID 19,” he said, without elaborating.
North Korea says it has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but has actually taken substantial procedures to prevent the spread of the disease.
In January the reclusive state shut its borders totally, cancelled most flights and train services, and purchased foreign homeowners into more than a month of quarantine.
Reporting by Simon Johnson in Stockholm and Josh Smith in Seoul; Modifying by Gareth Jones