North Korea set to open embassy in Madrid

The world's most secretive nation is looking for office space in Spain as it prepares to open its seventh embassy in Europe. The Local speaks to North Korea's Spanish delegate about the plans.

North Korea set to open embassy in Madrid
On his way to Spain: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may one day grace Spain with his presence. Photo:AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS

Alejandro Cao de Benos, the man who once said “North Korea is superior to Spain”, has been tasked with finding a suitable spot for the reclusive Asian country’s embassy in the capital.

“I’ve carried out the first round-up of locations and have been informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pyongyang the inauguration will be either by the end of this year or the start of 2014,” Cao de Benós told The Local.

“Our economy (North Korea’s) has strongly recovered from the critical period between 1995 to 2000 (somewhere between 240,000 and 3,500,000 people died from starvation or hunger-related illnesses) and can now reopen its foreign delegations,” he added.

“North Korea’s ambassador must first present our credentials to Spain’s King.”

Read The Local's in-depth profile of Alejandro Cao de Benós, North Korea's main man in Spain.

North Korea’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Kung Sok Ung and Spain’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Gonzalo de Benito also met on October 23rd to discuss the opening of the embassy. 

If everything goes according to plan, North Korea will soon have its seventh embassy in Europe, added to those in London, Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Rome and Stockholm.

“There has been a growing cultural and business exchange between Spain and North Korea over the last few years,” Cao de Benós told The Local.

“We (North Korea) had a representation at the World Tourism Organization in Madrid in 1994.”

According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo,  North Korea already tried to open an embassy in Spain in 2003.

Although Jose María Aznar, Spain’s Prime Minister at the time, was in favour of the move, it fell through for reasons that are unknown.

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