Report says Pyongyang firm eluding sanctions

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Report says Pyongyang firm eluding sanctions

An American experts’ report published Tuesday detailed how a North Korean weapons parts producer designated in January last year by the United Nations for international sanctions has maintained its business across the globe through a Chinese and Russian network.

The report published on “North 38,” a web-based journal affiliated with the U.S.-Korea Institute at the the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, described the case of the Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation. Although the UN Security Council in January 2013 sanctioned the Pyongyang-based producer of components essential for producing military items including missiles and gas centrifuges used to enrich uranium, it has remained active internationally.

The UN said Ryonha was “engaged in or providing support for, including through other illicit means, DPRK’s (North Korea’s) nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destruction-related and ballistic missile-related programs.”

The UN resolution, proposed by the United States and passed unanimously by the 15-nation council, followed North Korea’s ballistic missile technology test on Dec. 12, 2012. It was a tougher response to Pyongyang than UN measures that followed nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

A North Korean space agency, a bank and three other trading companies were also added the UN sanctions list.

“We have found information that suggests Ryonha has continued to operate in China and Russia until recently, as well as the names under which it does business in those two countries,” says the report jointly authored by Jeffrey Lewis and Catherine Dill, researchers at the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).

In China, the evidence suggests that Ryonha operates under the name Millim Technology Company through a Chinese firm called Suzhou Weihan CNC Technology, whereas in Russia, Ryonha appears to operate under the name Koryo Technologies, or KORTEC, the researchers claimed.

They further noted that many sanctioned North Korean entities continue to do business around the world using aliases. It encouraged a UN Panel of Experts as well as member states “to closely examine the activities of these companies to determine if they are, in fact, engaged in illicit commerce on behalf of Ryonha.

“China and Russia, in particular, should investigate whether these entities are controlled directly or indirectly, or working on behalf of Ryonha,” it said.


BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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