About the Author
JH Ahn was an NK News contributor based in Seoul. He previously worked as an interpreter for United States Forces Korea.
Small items and packages carried by individuals to North Korea should be considered cargo and subject to searches as outlined in Resolution 2270, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations said last week.
This includes cargo contained in luggage carried by individuals or otherwise, both entering and leaving North Korea, something which could therefore directly impact tourists or other businesspeople visiting the country.
Power outlined the reasons for this unprecedented measure, saying that “the DPRK has used similar tactics to hide the illegal items it exports – such as weapons, drugs, and counterfeit goods – to generate revenue.”
However NK News has learned that despite Power’s statement, there are yet few signals of implementation by Chinese officials along the border region, in the tourist sector at least.
There have been, “No changes,” said Rowan Beard, a DPRK Tour Manager from Young Pioneer Tours. “This includes flying in, training in (by railroad) and even walking in, up in Rason … and (at the) Tumen border crossing.
Aram Pan, a Singaporean photographer who regularly visits the country, told NK News he has had none of his bags searched by officials from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for potentially sanctioned contents, beyond normal airport security measures.
And three other tour agencies operating in North Korea also told NK News by email of no significant changes implemented by China in the border region.
It’s possible, though, that given the recent nature of Power’s recent statement, implementation could be stepped up by the Chinese in future.
However, a legal expert said the current discord between Chinese and U.S. expectations related to a fundamental disagreement about the cause of “North Korean headache,” with “both believing that the responsibility and solution lie with the other.”
And that expert said that language in Resolution 2270 also meant that the application of sanctions enforcement may vary between states.
“The resolution leaves the form of that inspection up to member states to decide and furthermore encourages member states to make sure inspections have minimal impact on humanitarian transfers, so the UNSC accepts that inspection regimes will vary between member states and that each state will vary the intensity of inspections according to the type of transfer,” Tristan Webb, former Senior DPRK Research Analyst for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told NK News.
“It should therefore be straightforward for any country with an effective customs control on their border to make relatively minor adaptations to their guidance and measures and claim they have met the resolution’s requirements.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has held three of its regular briefings since Power’s comments and have yet to mentioned any aspect related to North Korea, sanctions, or any plans to implement changes in the border region.
Featured Image: UN Photo/Loey Felipe