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Nicaragua shuts down Seoul embassy

Country plans to open new embassy in Pyongyang

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : April 24, 2024 - 17:51

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Nicaragua has decided to close its embassy in South Korea, primarily citing financial difficulties as a major reason, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul confirmed Wednesday, after the Central American country announced a plan to establish a new embassy in North Korea last year.

"The Nicaraguan government has recently informed our government of its decision to close its embassy in South Korea due to worsening financial conditions," a senior Foreign Ministry official confirmed on condition of anonymity.

"Following the decision, it appears that the embassy in South Korea will be closed for the foreseeable future."

The official clarified that a Nicaraguan ambassador stationed in a third country will also handle Korean affairs simultaneously to maintain diplomatic relations with South Korea.

South Korea's embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, will continue to operate, however.

The Nicaraguan government officially revoked the appointment of Zhenia Ruth Arce Zepeda as the country's ambassador to South Korea, effective April 17, according to its gazette published Tuesday.

The Nicaraguan government has closed several overseas missions, including the embassy in Germany, consulates in Texas, California and Louisiana in the United States, a consulate in Tapachula, Mexico, and consulates in the United Kingdom and Guatemala.

Nicaragua is currently subject to sanctions imposed by Western countries, including the US, the UK and the European Union.

But this is not the first time that Nicaragua has closed its embassy in Seoul.

The country's embassy in Seoul had previously closed in May 1997 due to financial constraints. It remained inactive until October 2014, with the Nicaraguan Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, assuming diplomatic responsibilities for South Korea during the interim period.

Nicaragua's decision to close its embassy in Seoul stands in stark contrast to July last year when the country announced plans for Nicaragua and North Korea to establish embassies in each other's capitals.

However, the senior Foreign Ministry official explained that neither North Korea nor Nicaragua has taken any action, including the dispatch of an ambassador.

The closure of the Nicaragua Embassy in Seoul coincides with its efforts to strengthen ties with China as well as align more closely with Russia, including the signing of a joint declaration rejecting sanctions on Monday.