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US Asks India To Scale Back 'Diplomatic Engagements' With North Korea

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| July 30 , 2017 , 13:00 IST

Despite sanctions and warnings from the US and the UN, North Korea continues to test-fire its intercontinental ballistic missiles, with the latest test being conducted on Friday itself. As North Korea continues to flout international warnings, US is focusing on encouraging other nations to 'do more' to contain the smaller country.

A US State Department delegation recently visited New Delhi to discuss the role India can play in the context of North Korea and how India can plug all exposure to it. Among the 'suggestions' given to India are that it limit and scale back its diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang. India's relationship with North Korea is largely a remnant of its non-aligned past.

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In 2016, India's exports to North Korea stood at $110 million, marking a 30 percent drop in bilateral trade. Responding to UN resolutions, Indian government further banned all trade except food and medicines with North Korea from April this year.

In comparison, North Korea's largest trading partner China registered a rise in trade.

According to reports, Washington is aiming to get the support of its partners like Germany, France, and India to cut back engagement with North Korea, a task that is becoming difficult with China and Russia as both nations have not pledged their cooperation with the US.

The frequent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests carried out by North Korea have been criticised the world over. At the recent G-20 summit in Hamburg, 18 out of the 20 countries condemned the tests, with only South Africa and Saudi Arabia refraining from issuing condemnations.

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India has said that North Korea's efforts are a threat to international peace.

"North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear& ballistic missile programmes and proliferation links pose grave threat to international peace. They also impacted India's national security, call upon North Korea to refrain from such actions that undermine international peace," MEA said.

Apart from ICBM, North Korea's cyber attacks also pose a very real threat to world nations.

A study by private threat intelligence company Recorded Future stated, "There are significant physical and virtual North Korean presences in several nations around the world — nations where North Koreans are likely engaging in malicious cyber and criminal activities. These nations include India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nepal, Kenya, Mozambique, and Indonesia."