North Korea is closing its embassy in Uganda, officials said, ending a half-century diplomatic presence in one of its longest-standing African allies.
The move was announced after a meeting Monday between Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and North Korean Ambassador Jong Tong Hak.
"Ambassador Jong informed the president that North Korea has taken a strategic measure to reduce the number of embassies in Africa, Uganda inclusive, in order to increase efficiency of the country's external institutions," said a Ugandan presidency statement shared with AFP on Tuesday.
"Our good friendship will continue and will be further strengthened and developed," Jong was quoted as saying, adding that diplomatic links would now be handled through its embassy in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Jong hailed Museveni "for consistently supporting the Korean government in enforcing its peaceful efforts to realise a harmonious unification of the Korean Peninsula", the statement added.
North Korea forged links with Uganda shortly after independence from Britain in 1962, and it supported Idi Amin when he seized power in 1971, providing his forces with training and weapons.
It opened the embassy in Kampala a year later as the international community shunned Amin, whose brutal rule lasted until 1979.
After Museveni took power in 1986, Kampala and Pyongyang signed cooperation agreements which saw North Korea provide the East African country with weapons and other military equipment as well as training for its security forces.
But in May 2016, Uganda said it was halting military cooperation with Pyongyang after the UN imposed heavy sanctions over its nuclear programme.
Museveni has made several visits to North Korea, where he met the late leader Kim Jong Il, father of current leader Kim Jong Un.