World Economic Forum withdraw invite to North Korea invite

North Korea's Kim Jong-Un watches missile launch on January 8. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
North Korea's Kim Jong-Un watches missile launch on January 8. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Organisers of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos say they have revoked an invitation to a delegation from North Korea, in what appears to be an international rebuke over the secretive Communist country’s nuclear test this month.

The WEF invitation had been extended to North Korea in the autumn “in view of positive signs coming out of the country”, organisers said. North Korea had accepted to attend the annual high-profile gathering of hundreds of heads of state, CEOs and public figures in the Swiss ski resort.

But after North Korea carried out on a nuclear test – which it claimed to be of a hydrogen bomb, although that is unverified – on 6 January, the WEF said the country’s delegation would be subject to “existing and possible forthcoming sanctions.”

Western and other countries have been looking for ways to punish North Korea for its increasingly militaristic tone.

The WEF added that a delegation would still be welcome in the future if North Korea “acts as a responsible and responsive member of the international community”.

WEF officials said that the decision to revoke the invitation came within the past 24 hours, in part because of the growing acceptance that the North Korean delegation, which was to be headed by its foreign minister, would not be open to dialogue.

Philipp Roesler, a member of the WEF managing board, said that when the invitation was extended in the autumn, event organisers believed there had been “convincing, encouraging signals out of DPRK that there maybe is an opportunity for international global dialogue”.

“But we have all seen what has happened last week,” he said, as organisers presented this year’s agenda.

“We decided after the nuclear test that… there will be no opportunity for an international global dialogue in the spirit of the World Economic Forum.

“Therefore we could not maintain our invitation.”