Indonesia–North Korea relations

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


North Korea

Indonesia–North Korea relations refers to the bilateral relations of Indonesia and North Korea. Indonesia is one of the very few countries that still maintain cordial relations with North Korea, despite international sanctions and isolation applied upon North Korea concerning its human rights abuses and nuclear missile program.

Both nations share a relationship that dates back to the Sukarno and Kim Il-sung era in the 1960s. Indonesia has an embassy in Pyongyang, while North Korea has an embassy in Jakarta. Both nations are members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

According to a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, 42% of Indonesians view North Korea's influence positively, with 22% expressing a negative view. This is the second most favourable opinion in the world after Ghana's.[1]


During President Kim Il-sung’s visit to Indonesia in 1965, President Sukarno was showing the North Korean leader around the Bogor Botanical Gardens when the latter was smitten by an orchid from Makassar. President Sukarno promptly named the flower Kimilsungia and appointed it as the symbol of the eternal friendship between the two countries. The Kimilsungia violet orchid, has become an integral part of the ever-present state-sponsored propaganda that surrounds the late leader.[2]

In March 2002, president Megawati Soekarnoputri visited Pyongyang.[3]

In 2002, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Council of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Yong-nam, met president Megawati Soekarnoputri. In 2005 president Kim Yong-nam also visited Indonesia to attend the Asian-African Conference Commemorative. In May 2012, president Kim Yong-nam, paid an official visit to Jakarta. The visit prompted Indonesian Human Rights and Democracy activists to call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to help push for democratization and respect for human rights in the isolated state.[4]

Contemporary relations[edit]

Indonesia still maintains its relations with North Korea despite North Korea's human-rights abuses and nuclear program that is threatening South Korea and Japan, two nations that share a far closer politic relation, economic interest, and strategic partnership with Indonesia.[5] Indonesia still continues to engage North Korea as it believes in dialog, and maintains that there is no point in isolation.[6]

The North Korean government is currently operating the Pyongyang restaurant in Jakarta, serving North Korean cuisine, promoting North Korea as well as being the source of foreign currency for North Korean government. The Pyongyang restaurant has chefs, cooks, and waitresses straight from North Korea.[7]


  1. ^ 2013 World Service Poll BBC
  2. ^ Jill Reilly (18 April 2012). "Here's us with the Kims: North Koreans flock in their thousands to celebrate 100th anniversary of founding father's birth... with a happy snap in front of massive portrait". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Megawati embarks on Asian tour". BBC. 24 March 2002. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Bagus BT Saragih (14 May 2012). "Human rights concerns cloud North Korea's leader visit to RI". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Jeffrey Robertson (15 September 2010). "Sun sets on Indonesia's North Korea ties". Asia Times. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Jamil Maidan Flores (23 July 2012). "The odd couple: North Korea and Indonesia". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Tash Roslin (6 May 2010). "North Korea's Hidden Menu". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 10 March 2014.