Sri Lanka has imposed enhanced visa restrictions for North Koreans entering the country in response to UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, according to the country’s implementation report for Resolution 2321.
The report, dated September 15, follows details in the 2017 report by a UN Panel of Experts (PoE) – tasked with monitoring sanctions implementation – of North Korea’s illicit activities in Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka has imposed a stringent visa requirement on all nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who wish to enter Sri Lanka,” the report reads.
“Nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are thus no longer eligible to apply for visas through the online Electronic Travel Authorization system of Sri Lanka,” it said.
The implementation report added that Sri Lankan immigration and emigration authorities were further instructed to pay close attention to individuals on the sanctions list and to deny their entry to the country, including for transit purposes.
“All Sri Lanka missions and posts overseas have been instructed to refer all visa requests to the capital, for vetting,” the report adds.
The moves relate to paragraph 15 of UNSC Resolution 2321, which was unanimously adopted in November last year.
Paragraph 15 calls on countries to “take steps to restrict the entry into or transit through their territory of members of the Government of the DPRK, officials of that Government, and members of the DPRK armed forces” determined to be associated with North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and other activities prohibited by prior resolutions.
In its 2017 report, the PoE found that two North Korean individuals – Kim Hyok Chan and Jon Chol Young – travelled to Sri Lanka on three occasions between 2014 and 2016 to discuss shipbuilding projects.
“Described as boat-building experts, they reportedly met with the State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka on 5 November 2015 to discuss building naval patrol vessels at a Sri Lankan shipyard prior to sale to its navy,” the PoE report reads.
The PoE report noted that at the time of its submission in February 2017, that the panel had not received a reply from Sri Lanka regarding the case.
Both Kim and Jon were identified as North Korean diplomats based in Angola as well as representatives of the Green Pine Association.
Green Pine is a North Korean entity designated by the UN in 2014 for being engaged in or providing support for North Korea’s “nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destruction-related and ballistic missile-related programmes.”
According to the UN, Green Pine had taken over many of the activities conducted by the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID) – long designated as North Korea’s primary weapons dealer.
Both Kim and Jon “had negotiated contracts, sourced spare parts and overseen the refurbishment of Angolan navy patrol boats,” according to the PoE, with Kim’s signature appearing on the refurbishment contracts.
According to Angola, Green Pine had delivered the patrol boats to the country up until 2012.
Sri Lanka was also mentioned by the PoE in a separate case involving a North Korean called Kim Song Chol, who was involved in North Korean labour overseas.
Kim was arrested at Colombo airport in March of 2016 carrying USD$176,000 in cash as well as gold jewellery and watches. According to Resolution 2094, jewelry of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal is designated as a luxury good and prohibited from being transferred to North Korea.
Luxury watches with a case of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal is also prohibited under luxury goods sanctions according to Resolution 2270 – adopted in March 2016 – the month of Kim’s arrest.
In addition, the UNSC expressed its concerns in Resolution 2270 that the transfer of gold to North Korea was being used to evade measured imposed in previous UNSC resolutions against the DPRK.
According to the PoE, Kim – who was en route to Beijing via Oman – made no customs declaration and was accompanied by five other North Koreans who were working in Oman for a DPRK construction company based in Dubai.
Kim produced a list of 311 North Korean overseas laborers and details regarding payments to be made to their families at an average of USD$300 per family.
“In addition to reiterating its concern that bulk cash could be used to evade sanctions, in paragraph 34 of resolution 2321 (2016) the Security Council expressed concern about the proceeds of overseas labour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea being used in prohibited programmes,” the PoE report reads.
Sri Lanka’s implementation report noted that it “wishes to take this opportunity to thank the Panel of Experts for its assistance and advice on this important matter.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: Colombo, Sri Lanka by Ishan Manjrekar on 2015-01-11 12:50:43