UAE downgrades diplomatic, economic ties with North Korea

UAE downgrades diplomatic, economic ties with North Korea

The UAE statement said it also would block North Korean companies from operating in any of the seven emirates, and the UAE will end its non-resident ambassador program with North Korea.

Several thousand North Korean workers reside in the US-allied Gulf region, mainly working on construction sites.

The US is seeking to rally the worldwide community to sever ties with the North to further isolate the regime and force it to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

The UAE will also stop issuing new visas or company licences to North Korean citizens, WAM said.

More news: Several hurt in protests as Kenya election officials mull next move

The workers help North Korea avoid sanctions, and raise money for its nuclear programs.

The United Arab Emirates said on Friday it fully supported the new US policy towards Iran and it renewed its commitment to work with Washington to counter Iran's support of extremism, the state news agency WAM reported. "There are many countries that are taking those steps that we have asked (them) to take".

United Nations sanctions against North Korea were last month expanded to include North Korean guest workers, along with textiles and a cap on oil exports. "Visas to North Korean nationals will not be renewed", it said. There are still 1,000 workers in the small emirate but the government noted that their number will significantly decrease as their employment contracts edge towards expiration.

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