Singapore will impose visa requirements on North Korean visitors to the country, according to its recently uploaded UN sanctions report.
The report which is dated June 2, outlines the Singaporean government’s plans to implement the most recent UN resolution passed in March this year.
According to the document the North Korean nationals designated in Resolution 2270 will be turned away at the border, and all other DPRK visitors will require some kind of visa, a departure from the current visa free regime.
“In order to better regulate the flow of nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea entering Singapore, Singapore is in the process of imposing visa requirements on all such nationals entering the country,” the implementation report reads.
Singapore is one of the few countries which allows North Korea visa free access to enter the country, along with Dominica, Ecuador, Gambia, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Micronesia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and the Ministry of Foreign of Affairs had not replied to request for comment on the news at the time of publishing.
The DPRK and Singapore enjoy relatively warm relations, with companies from the Southeast Asian country among a dwindling number of foreign investors.
Singapore itself is also a relatively frequent destination for North Koreans. Chosun Exchange, an NGO which teaches DPRK citizens about business and entrepreneurship often organises programs and seminars in the country.
“Singapore has been a great venue for training North Koreans, partly because its development model is both approachable and aspirational for the Koreans, but also because its visa free, which helps with a key logistical hurdle,” Andray Abrahamian, Choson Exchange’s Associate Director of research told NK News.
The Singaporean implementation notice also contained a passage on shipping, and claimed the government had conducted “extensive outreach programmes by explaining to the shipping community how Resolution 2270 (2016) will affect their operations”.
In December last year Singaporean company Chinpo Shipping was found guilty of aiding a North Korean company smuggle weapons through the Panama Canal in 2013.
The case shed light on how the DPRK used trusted partners abroad to move money and help with its illicit weapons programs.
Another Singaporean company called Senat Shipping was found to have extensive ties to North Korean entities involved in weapons procurement. The company’s vessel was among the blacklisted 27 ships in Resolution 2270.
“Singapore is in the process of verifying the ownership of the ships in its registry and will deregister any vessels owned by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the Singaporean implementation notice reads.
Additional reporting by Hamish Macdonald