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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Egypt is one of North Korea’s main trading partners in the region

Cairo is one of Pyongyang’s leading trade partners in the Arab world and has long been interested in North Korean military technology, Samuel Ramani writes for The Diplomat. The piece traces the history of relations to draw the connection to the US’s decision last week to cancel or suspend USD 290 mn in aid to Egypt, saying, “Cairo’s close relationship with North Korea has remained a consistent feature of Egypt’s Asia-Pacific strategy since the dawn of the Cold War.” He points to Orascom’s Koryolink — the only mobile phone network in North Korea — as an example of civilian cooperation, and writes, unoriginally, that Port Said as well remains open for shipping North Korean arms export to African countries. He does, however, present an interesting counterpoint: “Trump’s decision to cut aid to Egypt could convince Sisi to expand Cairo’s long-standing defense partnership with North Korea. This outcome would underscore the inefficacy of international sanctions against the DPRK and lead to a profound political backlash against Trump’s use of coercive diplomacy with Egypt.”

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