Singapore is the latest country to suspend trade relations with North Korea
Bilateral diplomatic relations were established since the 1970s.
If you do not know by now, Singapore actually has formal diplomatic relations with North Korea, the hermit nation that is now the subject of lots of international scrutiny because of its nuclear weapons programme.
They have an embassy here at 1 North Bridge Road’s High Street Centre building, which is a new premise they just moved into in December last year.
We are also friendly enough with them such that they reportedly congratulated Halimah Yacob on becoming the President of Singapore.
Bilateral trade relations suspended
The most recent development on the bilateral relationship is that Singapore has suspended trade relations with North Korea.
It is the latest country to do under toughening United Nations (UN) sanctions over North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests.
A customs notice obtained today stated that “Singapore will prohibit all commercially traded goods from, or to, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” and that the suspension would take effect from Nov. 8.
History of bilateral relations
Singapore has established diplomatic relations with North Korea since the 1970s.
According to Reuters, Singapore is North Korea’s seventh largest trading partner. The Philippines, Pyongyang’s fifth biggest trading partner, suspended trade with North Korea in September to comply with a U.N. resolution.
Also, up till mid-2016 when the rules were changed, North Korean citizens could actually enter Singapore visa-free. Singaporean citizens do however, need a visa to visit North Korea, even with the world’s most powerful passport.
Singaporeans were advised to avoid traveling to North Korea in September as it does not have diplomatic representation in the highly isolated country.
Our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan had said in May that Singapore will not be cutting all diplomatic ties with North Korea as it is ‘not ready to do so’.
Top image via Getty Images.