UAE cuts diplomatic ties with North Korea, ends visas

UAE cuts diplomatic ties with North Korea, ends visas

The UAE statement said it also would block North Korean companies from operating in any of the seven emirates, and the UAE will end its non-resident ambassador program with North Korea.

The fate of the thousands of North Korean laborers already in the UAE remains up in the air.

The UAE will also stop issuing new visas or company licences to North Korean citizens, WAM said.

It said it looked forward to worldwide efforts aimed to stop the proliferation of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program that pose a threat to global peace and stability.

Experts say North Korean laborers help Pyongyang avoid global sanctions and raise money for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

In Washington, the US State Department welcomed the UAE's decision. "There are many countries that are taking those steps that we have asked (them) to take".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps with military officers at the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017.

The UAE announcement follows similar moves by the UAE's Gulf Arab neighbours Qatar and Kuwait, which last month downgraded their ties with Pyongyang and ceased issuing new visas to North Korean citizens. South Korea and Japan have pressured Gulf states to stop employing North Korean workers, whose income goes towards remittances that benefit the regime in Pyongyang, according to Asian diplomatic sources.