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Report: U.S. mum on Mexico's public overtures to North Korea

The United States is staying quiet after comments from Mexico’s foreign minister on improving ties with North Korea, according to a press report Tuesday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The United States is staying quiet after comments from Mexico’s foreign minister on improving ties with North Korea, according to a press report Tuesday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. official at the United Nations said they had no comment after Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico is seeking to "reopen" its relationship with North Korea.

Radio Free Asia's Korean service reported Tuesday the U.S. representative declined to comment on an issue addressing the positions of other countries on North Korea.

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The report comes after Ebrard said Friday at the United Nations that Mexico wants to resume diplomacy and trade with Pyongyang.

Mexico had expelled former North Korean Ambassador Kim Hyong Gil in 2017, declaring the diplomat persona non grata after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in September 2017.

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"We have a position of hands-off around the world, we respect all governments, and we want to reopen the relationship with North Korea as well, like any other country," Ebrard said after a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York, according to Bloomberg.

Mexico's top diplomat also said North Korea had violated international law by conducting nuclear tests and launching missiles, the report said.

Mexico was among a handful of countries that include Peru, Kuwait, Spain and Italy that expelled North Korean ambassadors after the sixth test. Mexico did not sever diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, however, according to RFA.

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North Korea and Mexico may have begun to restore ties after Andrés Manuel López Obrador assumed office. On Sept. 29, 2020, an official Mexican account confirmed the presidential office received the credentials of new North Korean Ambassador Song Sun Ryong.

Ties between Mexico and North Korea deteriorated after Mexican authorities detained the 6,700-ton Mu Du Bong in 2014.

Mexico had said the ship belonged to North Korea's Ocean Maritime Management, a firm blacklisted by the U.N.'s North Korea sanctions committee for engaging in illicit arms trades in the past.

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The North Korean crew was released in 2015.

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