Armed attack on synagogue and church in Russia! Armed attack on synagogue and church in Russia!

North Korea's state media outlet KCNA said the country's ambassadors made "farewell" visits to Angolan and Ugandan leaders last week, and local media in both African countries also reported the closure of North Korea's embassies there. Both Angola and Uganda have developed friendly relations with North Korea since the 1970s, maintaining military cooperation and providing rare sources of foreign exchange, such as statue-building projects.

Media reports said the embassy closures set the stage for what could be "one of the biggest foreign policy shifts the country has experienced in decades," with consequences for diplomatic engagement, humanitarian work in the isolated country and the ability to generate illicit revenue.

The unification ministry said the withdrawal reflected the impact of international sanctions aimed at restricting funding for North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. "They appear to be withdrawing because their foreign exchange-earning business has been disrupted by the international community's strengthening of sanctions, making it difficult to maintain embassies any longer," the ministry said in a statement. This may be a sign of North Korea's difficult economic situation, where it is difficult to maintain even minimal diplomatic relations with traditionally friendly countries."

North Korea has official relations with 159 countries but had 53 diplomatic missions abroad, including three consulates and three representative offices, until it withdrew from Angola and Uganda, according to the ministry statement. North Korea will also close its embassy in Spain because its mission in Italy is handling affairs in the neighboring country, South Korea's Yonha news agency reported. Correspondence with the Spanish Communist Party on the party's website showed that the closure of the North Korean embassy was announced in a letter dated October 26.

Editor: David Goodman