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Jagdish asked: How is the relationship between India and North Korea and what are the implications of change of North Korean leadership for India?

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  • R.N. Das replies: There has been continuity in relations between India and North Korea, irrespective of change in leaderships. Peace and stability in the Korean peninsula has always been a matter of abiding interest to India. It may be recalled that a special session of Indian Parliament was convened on July 31, 1950 to discuss the Korean crisis. Drawing the attention of the House, the then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad had noted that Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru has appealed to the Russian Prime Minister Joseph Stalin and to the US Secretary of State Dean Acheson that the authorities of these two great countries should use their influence to localise the armed struggle in Korea, and break the dead lock in the UN Security Council over the admission of the People’s Republic of China, so that the present international tension might be eased and way is opened up for the resolution of the Korean problem by discussion in the Security Council.

    India was appointed as Chairman of the 9-member UN commission to hold elections in Korea in 1954. After the Korean war of 1950-53, India had played an important role as the chairman of the NNRC (Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission). Consular relations with DPRK were set up on March 1, 1962 and full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on December 10, 1973. Relations between India and the DPRK have been generally characterised by friendship, cooperation and understanding. India has been extending humanitarian assistance to the DPRK, which has suffered from food shortages during the last few years as a result of natural calamities. The DPRK authorities have expressed their gratitude for India’s humanitarian assistance to them from time to time.