Friday, March 19, 2010

France says "Non!" to Pyongyang

Good on the French for refusing to reward the DPRK regime for its recent bad behavior by opening up an embassy in the capital:
France will not open diplomatic relations with North Korea but plans to establish an office there to support non-governmental groups, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Thursday.

'We are not going to open an embassy, certainly not,' Kouchner said at a press conference in Tokyo. 'Open an office, yes, in order to help the NGOs (non-governmental organisations) there.'

France is the only European Union country other than Latvia that does not have diplomatic ties with the communist state.

Paris has argued that the human rights situation in North Korea must improve and has cited concerns over nuclear proliferation.

In December the French special envoy to Pyongyang, Jack Lang, said France had offered to forge permanent cultural links with North Korea but not full diplomatic ties, hoping to pressure it on the nuclear issue.
I had mentioned the prospect of France opening up ties with North Korea during Jack Lang's high-profile visits (here and here), but it's nice to see that Paris is trying to see how many concessions they can extract from Pyongyang on the human rights and nuclear front with a good carrot-and-stick approach. Not being a party to the six-party talks, this may be all they've got.

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