Germany–North Korea relations

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Germany–North Korea relations
Map indicating locations of Germany and North Korea


North Korea

Germany–North Korea relations are the bilateral relations between Germany and North Korea. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, there have been no visits of government delegations at ministerial level to Germany or North Korea. However, there have been several official visits to North Korea by members of the German Bundestag.

According to a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, only 3% of Germans view North Korea's influence positively, with 90% expressing a negative view.[1]


The former German Democratic Republic (GDR) maintained diplomatic relations with North Korea from 1949 onwards and was one of the country's most important partners in the Eastern bloc. After German reunification, a mission to represent the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany was opened on the premises of the former GDR Embassy in Pyongyang in 1991, with Sweden acting as protecting power. At the same time, the former North Korean Embassy in East Berlin was turned into an office to safeguard the interests of North Korea under the protectorship of the People's Republic of China.

Germany and North Korea established full diplomatic relations on 1 March 2001. According to the agreement reached in this connection, diplomatic relations are aimed at securing the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, advancing inner-Korean dialogue and improving the human rights situation in North Korea.

Economic relations[edit]

The economic relations between Germany and North Korea are very limited and take place mainly in the form of humanitarian aid. bilateral trade with Germany has remained at a very low level, being worth an average of approximately EUR 50 to 60 million per year. North Korean letters of credit are not accepted by German and international banks. Owing to unsettled debts in the order of some EUR 260 million, Hermes export credit guarantees have been frozen. Germany's main imports from North Korea are textiles. Exports to North Korea comprise vehicles, machinery, food, textile accessories, electrical goods, plastics and chemical products.[2]

German governmental and private humanitarian organizations have provided aid worth several million euros every year to improve the inadequate food supply to the North Korean population. Since the beginning of 2006, the humanitarian aid terminated by the North Korean government in September 2005 has been resumed in the form of development-oriented transitional aid under the umbrella of the EU.[2]

Cultural relations[edit]

In recent years, several dozen North Korean graduates have visited Germany for study and research, some on a long-term basis. There is an academic teacher from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) working at the Kim Il-sung University's department of German studies (approximately 45 students). German is also taught at the foreign language school in Pyongyang. The exchange of artists, athletes and musicians has been stepped up in recent years.

Since 2003, the German political foundations have been organizing seminars on market-economy and financial topics in cooperation with North Korean institutions. They also award scholarships to North Koreans.


  1. ^ 2013 World Service Poll BBC
  2. ^ a b Federal Foreign Office, 2011.