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Report says, India violated UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea

A UN official told IANS that sanctions monitors had given India details on how various countries had dealt with the definitions of materials in the sanctions as well as the World Customs Organisation's codes identifying the products.

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In contrast to its dealings with North Korea, India has in other cases strongly supported strict implementation of Council sanctions and in some cases called for more stringent actions, especially relating to terrorism, and criticised countries opposing those restrictions.
North Korea Map, Pixabay

India violated the UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea last year, sometimes even going against its own government orders, by importing metals worth $2.2 million and exporting jewellery valued at more than $578,000, according the UN panel monitoring the sanctions. Some of the imports and exports continued even after the Indian government issued a notification banning them in March last year.

The panel of experts established by the Council said in a recent report that it found that between January and September last year India had imported iron and steel valued at $1.4 million, iron and steel products worth $234,000, copper worth $233,000 and $526,000 of zinc, ignoring the sanctions.

India also exported jewellery worth $578,994, which included diamonds valued at $514,823, between January and June.

A UN source familiar with its sanctions monitoring told IANS that India had not provided details about the importers and exporters and the report relied on trade data compiled by the UN and proprietary information from organisations that gather commercial information on trade.
Representational Image, Pixabay

“All exports (from North Korea) after 4 September 2017 violated paragraph 8 of resolution 2371 (2017), while those before 4 September 2017 violated paragraph 26 of resolution 2321 (2016),” the report said.

Those resolutions demand that countries prohibit the import of iron and iron ore from North Korea.

A 2013 resolution expressly banned export of precious and semi-precious stones to North Korea.

In contrast to its dealings with North Korea, India has in other cases strongly supported strict implementation of Council sanctions and in some cases called for more stringent actions, especially relating to terrorism, and criticised countries opposing those restrictions.

The iron imports continued even after March last year when India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade imposed restrictions on importing iron and iron ore from North Korea, even as it said the sanctions lacked clarity, according to a note from India’s UN Mission to the sanctions panel last July.

“Pending clarity on this issue, national implementation of the measures contained in UNSC resolutions 2270 (2016) and 2321 (2016) relating to iron and iron-ore was nevertheless carried out by Government of India through a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on 21 March 2017,” it said.

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The identities of those who imported from North Korea or exported to it were not included in the report and it is not known if the Indian government took action against those who made the imports in violation of its orders in March or if an investigation is under way.

A UN source familiar with its sanctions monitoring told IANS that India had not provided details about the importers and exporters and the report relied on trade data compiled by the UN and proprietary information from organisations that gather commercial information on trade.

New Delhi reiterated its commitment to implement the sanctions in a report India’s UN Mission sent last month to Karel Van Oosterom, the Netherlands Permanent Representative who chairs the Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee.

Indian authorities “will ensure that the relevant provisions” of the Council sanctions will be “implemented in letter and spirit,” the report declared.

It said that an order issued on March 5 by the External Affairs Ministry would implement the sanctions relating to North Korea and a notification was issued on March 7 by the DGFT to regulate trade with North Korea to conform to the sanctions.

Big spurts in imports were noticed in August and September just as efforts were under way in the Security Council to tighten sanctions after Pyongyang carried out missile tests, a UN source familiar with the sanctions process told IANS.

Suddenly the iron and steel imports rose from $69,577 in July to $281,000 in August and $487,000 in September, and iron and steel products import went up to $21,000 in September, the source pointed out.

In case of copper, there was again a spurt, from $13,990 in June to $47,000 in August and $152,000 in September.

The sanctions panel’s report to the Council referred to an earlier explanation sent in July by India about the violations that it blamed on a lack of clarity about the sanctions.

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That communication from India’s UN Mission asserted that “there was no clarity regarding the scope of the measures related to iron and iron ore since there was no elaboration/explanation of the word ‘iron’ and ‘iron ore’.”

It also asked for “clarity” regarding the items banned, including luxury goods.

A UN official told IANS that sanctions monitors had given India details on how various countries had dealt with the definitions of materials in the sanctions as well as the World Customs Organisation’s codes identifying the products.

India could have more credibly invoked a clause that permits some imports “exclusively for livelihood purposes” that was used, for example, by Russia, the official said.

The July communication said that in March last year, India had tightened the ban on trade with North Korea.

The notification of the ban from the DGFT (Notification No. 41/2015-2020; 21 March 2017) mentioned the Council resolutions and specifically mentioned import of iron ore and export of luxury items (which included jewelry and diamonds).

As regards the assertion in the report about the bans requiring “due legal process for incorporating them in domestic law,” an official pointed out that the UN Charter takes precedence and requires compliance. (IANS)

  • Arvind Baba

    It is an open secret that India shares an unholy nuclear connection with North Koreaand quite surprisingly this is a lost debate in mainstream scholarship on nuclear crisis in Korean Peninsula. India’s facilitation of Korean students still remains a mystery despite UN PoE repots and subsequent investigative report by Al Jazeera titled as “India’s embarrassing North Korean connection, in June 2016.

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  • Arvind Baba

    It is an open secret that India shares an unholy nuclear connection with North Koreaand quite surprisingly this is a lost debate in mainstream scholarship on nuclear crisis in Korean Peninsula. India’s facilitation of Korean students still remains a mystery despite UN PoE repots and subsequent investigative report by Al Jazeera titled as “India’s embarrassing North Korean connection, in June 2016.

Next Story

Previously Undisclosed North Korean Missile Site May Impact U.S-N.Korea Summit

The White House has not commented on the CSIS report and neither Washington nor Pyongyang has yet to officially announce the date or location.

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north korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Sept. 16, 2017. VOA

A report released on Monday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) about a previously undisclosed North Korean missile site may have caught some casual North Korean observers by surprise. But Nam Sung-wook, professor at Korea Unification, Diplomacy and Security at Korea University, said the Sino-ri facility was previously known to both the United States and South Korean intelligence services.

“Last year the U.S. made a report about Sakkanmol and Sino-ri this January. Those are not fresh discoveries,” he said.

Archived South Korean news reports dating back to 1998 acknowledge the Sino-ri site as a facility for Nodong missiles.

The CSIS report declared that one of 20 undeclared ballistic missile bases in North Korea serves as a missile headquarters facility and the “Sino-ri missile operating base and the Nodong missiles deployed at this location fit into North Korea’s presumed nuclear military strategy by providing an operational-level nuclear or conventional first strike capability.”

Korea, Enemy
South and North Korean officials unveil the sign of Seoul to Pyeongyang during a groundbreaking ceremony for the reconnection of railways and roads at the Panmun Station in Kaesong, North Korea, Dec. 26, 2018. VOA

Kim Dong-yub, the head of the Office of Research at the Institute for Far East Studies (IFES) at Kyungnam University, added, “Although the North has not declared the site officially, it does not mean that it is new. No countries openly announce all the military bases.”

Nam notes that the United States focuses on small details regarding denuclearization, like the dismantling of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to reduce the threat to the to the U.S. “For [President] Trump, he can use this to boast about his achievement during the second summit,” Nam said.

Implications for upcoming North Korean Summits

The CSIS report came days after the White House announced that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February and that he “looks forward” to the denuclearization talks.

In its report, CSIS said the Sino-ri base was not previously declared by Pyongyang and “does not appear to be the subject of denuclearization negotiations.”

Speaking to Reuters news agency, one of the report’s authors, Victor Cha, said “The North Koreans are not going to negotiate over things they don’t disclose. It looks like they’re playing a game.”

Korea, Missile
Sino-ri missile base, North Korea.VOA

 

Nam assesses Trump’s focus on the talks with Kim is about eliminating threats, like ICBMs.

“It is hard to achieve complete denuclearization, so including dismantling ready-made weapons from the past, which arouse the strong opposition remains the focus on the present and the future talks. These include ICBMs and missile test sites,” said Nam.

He added that Seoul does not regard the Sino-ri facility as one that imposes a direct threat to South Korea, citing the September 19 Pyongyang Declaration and its efforts to de-escalate tension on the peninsula.

Kim Dong-yub said the CSIS report focuses too much on a connection between the missile facilities and denuclearization.

“The North already announced denuclearization and they took some steps, although some require verification,” said Kim, “So it is not proper to judge their willingness by their possessions of military bases.”

North Korea
A South Korean man reads a newspaper with the headline reporting North Korea’s rocket launch while traveling on a subway in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 13, 2012. VOA

Kim said some groups opposing talks with North Korea and may try to leverage the news to press Pyongyang for more concessions, but he says the upcoming talks between the United States and North Korea should not include these types of missile facilities, for if they do, they could detract from progress on denuclearization.

In an email to VOA, Bruce Klinger, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, wrote, “During a second summit, Trump must insist on tangible steps toward North Korean denuclearization, including a data declaration of the regime’s nuclear and missile programs. Trump shouldn’t offer more concessions nor agree to reduce U.N. and U.S. sanctions until Kim moves beyond the symbolic gestures it has taken so far.”

Also Read: Things Are Going Very Well With North Korea: U.S. President Donald Trump

The White House has not commented on the CSIS report and neither Washington nor Pyongyang has yet to officially announce the date or location of the second U.S. – North Korean summit, although some speculate it may take place in Vietnam.

In addition, local media reports in South Korea have indicated the Moon administration may attempt to host Kim in Seoul during the 100th anniversary of the March 1 independence movement. (VOA)