Jakarta. Indonesia is temporarily pulling its diplomats out of North Korea in response to the the latter's coronavirus lockdown, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced.
The North Korean government has asked foreign envoys in Pyongyang to temporarily recall their diplomatic staff or international organizations home since late last year, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah.
"North Korea has imposed a lockdown by closing access for the movement of people and goods. This policy entered into force since the pandemic began [and will be in effect] until further notice," Faizasyah told Antara news agency on Thursday.
Faizasyah said the recalling of Indonesian diplomats are unrelated to the bilateral relations, which are still going well. Many embassies in Pyongyang are also making these adjustments.
According to Faizasyah, Indonesia had previously discussed in detail with the North Korean government regarding its decision to adjust its diplomatic missions. The North Korean authorities are also fully facilitating the adjustment.
"We will conduct our diplomatic missions from Jakarta until it is possible for them to return to Pyongyang," Faizasyah said.
North Korea so far has yet to report a Covid-19 case to the World Health Organization (WHO) and thus its pandemic situation remains unclear.
Its leader Kim Jong Un, however, said the failure to implement measures against the coronavirus has caused a great crisis. He has berated ruling party officials for putting the country and people at risk, North Korea's state-controlled media KCNA reported earlier this month.
South Korean and American officials have questioned North Korea's coronavirus-free claims. Nonetheless, North Korea has taken strict measures to keep the virus at bay, such as by closing its borders and restricting domestic travels.