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Indian embassy should remain in Pyongyang: Swaraj to Tillerson

He "understood" and "appreciated" India's stand on the issue, she said

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj along with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before a meeting in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

today informed the US that it has "minimal" trade with North Korea, and that there was a small in which should stay there so that some channels of communication remain open.

The issue figured during talks between External Affairs Minister and US Secretary of State here.

"We had open discussion on both the issues --trade reduction and closing the embassy. I told Secretary Tillerson that as far as trade is concerned it has come down, really reduced. It has become minimal," Swaraj said when asked about the divergence between Indian and the US on ties with

She also said that "our embassy size there is very small. But the embassy is there and I told Secretary Tillerson that some of your friendly nations' embassies should stay there so that at least some channel of communication remain open. There could be occasions when you need to have a dialogue to resolve some issue".

He "understood" and "appreciated" India's stand on the issue, she said.

Swaraj's remarks in response to a question came at a time when the US is asking its allies to cut diplomatic ties with

Trade between and amounted to USD 130 million in 2016-17 but in the current fiscal year it stands at USD 10.95 million, according to official data.

banned all trade with North Korea, except food and medicine, from April, in line with UN sanctions over North Korea's nuclear tests.

Asked about India's participation in Chahabhar port, which also involved Iran, and if it bothered the US, Tillerson said his government was not against legitimate business activities and development projects.

The US policy has a policy which has three important pillars --Iran's nuclear programme, Iran's destabilising activities, including export of arms to terrors groups, and support for modern voices within Iran, Tillerson said.

The US is not against Iranian people and it does not want them to suffer, he said, adding, that the purpose of sanctions against the Iran government is to deny it to undertake destabilising activities.

"So, there is no contradiction", he said.

First Published: Wed, October 25 2017. 22:16 IST