• France edition
 

France to open liaison office in N. Korea: report

Published: 12 Jul 2011 10:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Jul 2011 10:31 GMT+02:00

France will open a cooperation bureau in North Korea, Le Monde newspaper said on Tuesday, but underscored that Paris was not launching diplomatic relations with the reclusive Stalinist state.

A senior French diplomat is currently in Pyongyang where he "will present to the North Koreans" the future French representative, the daily said, identifying him as Olivier Vaysset, a diplomat who has worked in Singapore.

"The opening of this office does not signify that France is opening as such diplomatic relations with this totalitarian country," it said but added that it could serve as a "diplomatic intermediary."

The proposed office will handle cultural cooperation, it said.

The French embassy in Seoul declined comment on the report, saying any comment would have to come from Paris.

The then-French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said in March last year his country would not establish diplomatic relations with the North but would open an office to support non-governmental groups.

"We are not going to open an embassy, certainly not," Kouchner told a news conference in Tokyo. "Open an office, yes, in order to help the NGOs there."

France is the only major European Union member that does not have diplomatic ties with the communist state.

Paris has argued that the human rights situation must improve and has cited concerns over nuclear proliferation.

French special envoy to Pyongyang, Jack Lang, visited the North in November 2009. He said afterwards that France had offered to forge permanent cultural links with North Korea but not full diplomatic ties.

The French move comes as ties between North and South Korea are at their lowest ebb after Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing a warship in March 2010, killing 46 sailors.

North Korea angrily denied the charge but went on to shell a border island last November, killing four South Koreans including two civilians.

Denuclearisation talks with Pyongyang, which has tested two nuclear bombs, have also been stalled since 2009.

The six-party talks, grouping the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, are aimed at persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons for energy aid and security and diplomatic benefits.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Top Gear to launch new French version of show
Hit British car series "Top Gear" is coming to France. Photo: Ana Poenariu/AFP

Top Gear to launch new French version of show

France is going to get its own version of legendary British auto series Top Gear with the show set to hit the TV screens by next year. READ  

Ukraine crisis
Mistral deal: Pressure on France as tensions rise
France may be forced to take another another look at its warship deal with Russia. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Mistral deal: Pressure on France as tensions rise

Increased tension in the Ukraine has only served to heighten the pressure on France, which so far has stubbornly refused to pull-out of its €1.2 billion deal to sell two Mistral warships to Russia. But will Paris be forced to re-consider? READ  

Paris building blast: Eighth body found
Firefighters pull a body from the rubble after an explosion brought down an apartment block near Paris on Sunday. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Paris building blast: Eighth body found

French rescue workers pulled an eighth body out of the rubble of a four-storey building near Paris on Monday. The apartment block collapsed on Sunday after an explosion. Rescuers don't believe anyone else is still missing. READ  

Opinion - School reform
'New five-day week is vital for French pupils'
French primary school pupils will attend school five days a week from now on, despite opposition from parents. Photo: Shutterstock

'New five-day week is vital for French pupils'

The head of a major parents' group in France tells The Local why the new five-day school week will bring French schools into the 21st century. READ  

Ligue 1
Blow for French league as Falcao departs
Radamel Falcao has left French Ligue 1 side to join Manchester United. Photo: AFP

Blow for French league as Falcao departs

The French league was dealt a blow on Monday when one of its star names, Monaco's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, left to join Manchester United. The move shows clubs in France's Ligue 1, with the exception of PSG, cannot compete with Europe's big teams. READ  

Photo of French pupils draws 'racist' backlash
An Education Ministry photo has prompted an online controversy in France, because only one kid is white. Photo: Sophie Brändström/Education Ministry

Photo of French pupils draws 'racist' backlash

The French government has firmly rebuked scores of 'racist' comments left on an education ministry Facebook post which shows a back-to-school scene with mostly non-white children. The image has elicited a furious online debate. READ  

French bureaucrats go after baker for 22 cents
Bureaucrats at the RSI have threatened legal action against a retired baker for a debt of 22 centimes. Photo: AFP

French bureaucrats go after baker for 22 cents

A retired pastry maker from the south of France was given a nasty shock this week when French authorities threatened to take legal action against him over unpaid debt. He stands accused of owing 22 centimes to the state. A stamp in France costs 59 cents. READ  

Ask The Experts - French savings
Saving money in France: What's the best option?
What's the best thing to do with your savings in France? Photo: Shutterstock

Saving money in France: What's the best option?

Ever wondered what's the best thing to do with your savings in France? As part of our "Ask The Experts" series we've invited expat financial adviser Jonathan Cooper to tell you what to do with your hard-earned euros. READ  

France's 'Tony Blair' divides Socialist Party
Does the French PM Manuel Valls remind you of anyone? A younger Tony Blair perhaps? Photo: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP

France's 'Tony Blair' divides Socialist Party

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged Socialist Party rebels to unite behind the government this weekend, as opposition among dissenters on the left against the leader they are increasingly referring to as a French "Tony Blair", continues to grow. READ  

Ligue 1 round-up
PSG in five-goal rout as Bordeaux slip up
Zlatan celebrates after scoring one of three goals against St Etienne on Sunday night. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

PSG in five-goal rout as Bordeaux slip up

French champions PSG made a statement of intent on Sunday beating Saint Etienne 5-0 at the Parc des Princes, while leaders Bordeaux slipped up at home to Bastia and Lyon lost again. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
International
VIDEO: Watch the top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Politics
Take a look at the bulging to-do list that awaits France's new government
Politics
Six questions for France after Hollande ousts rebels
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se