Poland preparing technical inspection at diplomatic mission in N. Korea: VOA

Poland is in talks with North Korea to conduct a technical inspection at its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, a U.S. news outlet reported Saturday, after a few other European countries have taken similar steps amid prospects of reopening the missions in the North after years of the pandemic-driven shutdown. Poland is "discussing with the DPRK authorities a suitable time for both sides to conduct a technical mission in Pyongyang," the Voice of America reported, citing a written comment from a Polish foreign ministry spokesperson in response to its query. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. The official said that Poland is "interested in maintaining" the diplomatic presence in the North that had been there long before 2020 when the global COVID-19 outbreak began, according to the VOA. The VOA also reported that the Czech Republic is "exploring conditions" to reopen its embassy in Pyongyang, quoting a Czech foreign ministry official. The reports came after some European countries sent their diplomats to Pyongyang or are preparing to do so, in what observers say may indicate efforts to reopen their diplomatic missions in the reclusive country after the North's strict border shutdown. North Korea began opening its border partially in August last year but has only permitted China, Russia, Cuba and Mongolia to resume diplomatic activities in Pyongyang. A German diplomat visited North Korea earlier this week in the first known case for a Western diplomat to have visited Pyongyang since the border closure in early 2020. Sweden's ambassador-designate to the North was visiting North Korea this week and met with the Chinese envoy, the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang said on its website. Seoul officials have raised the possibility that the North's decision to allow Western diplomats in might be related to South Korea's establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. The new Seoul-Havana ties are seen as a blow to Pyongyang given its decadeslong brotherly ties with the Caribbean nation. Source: Yonhap News Agency