Israel–North Korea relations

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


North Korea

Israeli-North Korean relations are very hostile, and North Korea does not recognise the state of Israel, denouncing it as an "imperialist satellite".[1] Since 1988 it recognises the sovereignty of the State of Palestine over the territory held by Israel.


Over the years, North Korea has supplied missile technology to Israel's neighbours, including Iran, Syria, Libya, and Egypt.[2][3][4] Syria, which has a history of confrontations with Israel, has long maintained a relationship with North Korea based on the cooperation between their respective nuclear programs. On September 6, 2007, the Israeli Air Force conducted airstrike "Operation Orchard" on a target in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. According to media reports, 10 North Koreans who "had been helping with the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria" were killed during the airstrike.[5]

When North Korea opened up for Western tourists in 1986 it excluded citizens of Israel along with those of Japan, the United States, and France.[6] Israel has called for world action against North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.[7] It has been suggested that North Korea has sought to model its nuclear weapons programme on Israel's, as "a small-state deterrent for a country surrounded by powerful enemies; to display enough activity to make possession of a nuclear device plausible to the outside world, but with no announcement of possession: in short, to appear to arm itself with an ultimate trump card and keep everyone guessing whether and when the weapons might become available."[8]

In May 2010 the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, labeled North Korea as part of an "axis of evil"; he stated:

"This axis of evil that includes North Korea, Syria and Iran, it's the biggest threat to the entire world".[9]

In 2014 as the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict escalated, North Korea negotiated arms deals with Hamas to support their offensive against Israel.[10]

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