Report to UNSC questions North Korean links with Sri Lanka

A report submitted to the UN Security Council (UNSC) has questioned links established between Sri Lanka and North Korea, led by Kim Jong-un.

The report by a Panel of Experts appointed by the UN has found that a North Korean diplomat had talks with the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry in November 2015.

The Panel established that a representative from Angola, a diplomat from Korea named Kim Hyok Chan, and another Angola-based diplomat Mr. Jon Chol Young, travelled together to Sri Lanka three times (between 2014 and 2016) to discuss shipbuilding projects.

Described as boat-building experts, they reportedly met with the State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka on 5 November 2015 to discuss building naval patrol vessels at a Sri Lankan shipyard prior to sale to its Navy.

The Panel says in the report tabled by the Security Council on February 27, it has yet to receive a reply from Sri Lanka.

The links between Sri Lanka and North Korea comes as the Panel found that North Korea has been flouting sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication.

The Panel investigated new interdictions, one of which highlighted the country’s ability to manufacture and trade in sophisticated and lucrative military technologies using overseas networks.

The Panel’s investigations further revealed previous arms trading by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and cooperation in Africa, including hitherto unreported types of cooperation on a large scale.

The Panel’s report shows that, despite the support of Member States for strengthened sanctions by the Security Council through two new resolutions adopted in 2016, this effort has not yet been matched by the requisite political will, prioritization and resource allocation to ensure effective implementation.

The Panel recommends a series of designations and practical measures in order to offer the Security Council, the Committee and Member States additional tools by which to address current challenges and shortcomings. (Colombo Gazette)


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