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View more articles by Lawrence Steele
Lawrence Steele is the pseudonym for an NK News correspondent on the China-North Korea border.
DANDONG, North Korea – A North Korean company under UN sanctions for aiding the country’s nuclear and ballistic missiles programs has no presence at the Chinese border city address it registered with local authorities under an alias, NK News has learned.
Millim Technology Company was named by a UN committee last year as the Chinese alias of the Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation, a machine tools firm blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2013 for its alleged role in North Korea’s weapons development.
As its headquarters, Millim Technology Company registered an address in Dandong with Liaoning provincial government, according to an article published by the North Korea-focused website 38 North last November.
But when NK News visited the address in November, it found no trace of the firm – only a three-story building occupied by several Chinese restaurants. One restaurant owner and a waitress at another eatery in the building said they had never heard of Millim Technology Company. It was unclear whether the firm moved or had never existed at the address.
The company information held by the Administration for Industry and Commerce of Liaoning also included a phone number and the name of a legal representative, Sheng Jinping, according to 38 North. Calls to the number listed went unanswered.
The address is located on the riverfront facing the North Korean city of Sinuiju in what is one of the most prominent areas of Dandong, the largest city on the China-North Korea border. The area is home to several restaurants run by the North Korean government and is just a few minutes’ walk from the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, which carries freight and people between the countries.
In March 2014, the UN Panel of Experts, which monitors the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, reported that Ryonha was continuing to do business unimpeded in a number of countries under several aliases. The company also participated in the previous year’s trade fair in Dandong using the name Ryonha.
Last November, arms control analyst Jeffrey Lewis, writing on the website 38 North, claimed that Millim Technology Company was working with a Chinese firm called Suzhou Weihan CNC Technology Co., Ltd to evade sanctions. As evidence, he pointed to images from the Chinese firm’s website that suggested it was selling components produced by Millim Technology Company.
The sanctions against Ryonha, which followed a satellite launch by North Korea that was widely seen as a pretext to test ballistic missile technology, obligate UN member states to freeze any assets related to the firm within their jurisdiction.
Image: Lawrence Steele