India slashed trade with North Korea but will not close its embassy

India has slashed trade with North Korea in line with UN sanctions over the North’s nuclear tests but will not close its Pyongyang embassy, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said Wednesday.

North Korea was one of a number of key Asian security topics raised by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in New Delhi. The United States has reportedly been urging allies to cut diplomatic ties with the North.

“We had an open discussion on the issues of trade reduction and closing the embassy,” Swaraj told a press conference after the meeting.

“I told Mr. Tillerson that as far as trade is concerned it has come down, really come down. It has become minimal.”

Trade between India and North Korea amounted to $130 million in 2016-17 but in the current fiscal year, it stands at $10.95 million, according to official data.

India banned all trade with the North, except food and medicine, from April this year, the foreign ministry said.

Swaraj said the embassy should remain as a link with the North.

“Our embassy there is very small. But the embassy is there and I told Mr. Tillerson that some of your friendly nations’ embassies should stay there so that some channels of communication remain open.”

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