by WorldTribune Staff, September 13, 2017
Egypt has cut military ties to North Korea, according to reports.
“Egypt will actively co-operate with South Korea against North Korea acts that threaten peace,” Egyptian Defense Minister Sedqi Sobhi said during a visit to Seoul on Sept. 12, Yonhap reported.
Cairo, which for decades maintained close ties with North Korea and purchased an arsenal of medium-range and ground-to-ground missiles from Pyongyang, has come under mounting pressure in recent weeks to sever ties with North Korea.
Last month, the Trump administration cut or delayed nearly $300 million in aid to Egypt over its human rights record, but also due to its ties to Pyongyang.
President Donald Trump called Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi and stressed he was intent on developing the relationship between their countries and overcoming any obstacles that might affect it.
In an August 24 briefing, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration has had conversations with Egypt about the need to isolate North Korea.
Countries that do business with Pyongyang, she warned at the time, enabled money to go into North Korea’s illegal nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.
In Cairo, Egyptian military spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifai would only say that Sobhi discussed military and security co-operation with South Korean officials. He would not elaborate.
Several Egyptian news websites posted Sobhi’s comments only to remove them later. The daily El-Masry El-Youm published his comments in the first run of its print edition, but removed them in later ones, noted the Associated Press.
New sanctions imposed on North Korea by the UN Security Council on Sept. 11 includes a ban on textile exports, cuts off natural gas shipments to North Korea, places a ceiling on deliveries of refined oil products and caps crude oil shipments at their current level.
It also bars countries from issuing new work permits to North Korean laborers sent abroad and seeks to phase out the practice by asking countries to report on the date for ending existing contracts.
Egypt’s ties to North Korea were not restricted to the military.
According to an archived report by Geostrategy-Direct.com, Pyongyang has had mobile phone service provided by Egypt’s Orascom Telecom.
The North introduced a 3G mobile phone network in a joint venture, named Koryolink, with Orascom in 2008. The number of subscribers to the sole cell phone system provider exceeded 2 million in May last year, according to Orascom.