UAE cuts diplomatic ties with North Korea, ends visas

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The United Arab Emirates has announced that it had stopped issuing visas to North Korean nationals and downgraded diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, following similar moves by Kuwait and Qatar.

The 2 nations say money earned by North Korean migrant workers is allowing Pyongyang to continue its nuclear and missile programs.

The United Arab Emirates is ending the mission of North Korea's non-resident ambassador and terminating its own envoy's services in Pyongyang, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday carried by state news agency WAM.

"Very happy to hear that", State Department spokesman Heather Nauert told reporters.

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In a statement, the ministry said that it looked forward to cooperating with the worldwide community to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which threaten global security and stability.

In Washington, the US State Department welcomed the UAE's decision.

A growing number of countries have also expelled North Korean diplomats and scaled back economic ties. It's a big blow to the regime, which has thousands of guest workers in the Gulf region providing an importance source of hard currency for the isolated nation. More than 1,000 North Korean laborers are reportedly working at construction sites and elsewhere in the UAE.

Qatar has also said it would not renew visas for North Korean labourers, with the last work permits set to expire at the end of 2018.

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