Myanmar has expelled a blacklisted North Korean diplomat from its territory in line with UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, according to the country’s first ever implementation report submission.
The report, which is dated October 9 and was uploaded on Friday, references the implementation of UNSC resolutions 2270, 2321, and 2371 owing to Myanmar’s lack of submissions to the 1718 committee previously.
“The Government took necessary action against Mr. Kim Chol Nam, a national of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) working as a Second Secretary at the Embassy of the DPRK in Yangon, Myanmar,” the report reads.
“On 26 April 2017, the Embassy of the DPRK was notified to send him back, and accordingly he and his family left Myanmar on 9 June 2017,” it added.
According to the report, Kim was a known representative of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID). KOMID has long been designated at the unilateral and multilateral levels and is known as one of North Korea’s primary weapons dealers.
The identification of Kim as a Second Secretary of the Embassy in Myanmar is consistent with North Korea’s use of diplomats overseas in illicit and sanctioned activities.
This has also been evident previously in Myanmar, with the former Ambassador – Kim Sok Chol – having been expelled from the country in 2016 after being designated by OFAC for his involvement with KOMID.
The UN has warned member states of this practice and expressed continued concern in UNSC resolutions “that the DPRK is abusing the privileges and immunities accorded under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.”
Resolution 2270 passed in March of 2016, also requires the expulsion of any North Korean diplomat who “is working on behalf or at the direction of a designated individual or entity, or of an individual or entities assisting in the evasion of sanctions.”
In order to further curb this practice, Resolution 2321 – passed in November 2016 -called for the reduction in the number of staff at North Korean diplomatic missions and consular posts in member state territories.
It also called for states to limit the number of bank accounts to one per North Korean diplomatic mission and consular post and one per accredited DPRK diplomat and consular officer within their territory.
The submission of Myanmar’s first report comes amid a U.S. pressure campaign against the DPRK for its continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The U.S. has also urged states with trade and diplomatic relations with North Korea to distance themselves from the country.
While North Korea-Burmese relations have been rocky in the past the two countries have maintained ties. There has also been longstanding concerns regarding defense activities between the two countries with the U.S. blacklisting Thein Htay, the Burmese Head of the Directorate of Defense Industries (DDI), in 2013 for involvement in the illicit trade of North Korean arms.
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Featured Image: MYANMAR (BIRMANIA-BURMA) YANGON (RANGUN) SWEDAGON PAYA by Jose Javier Martin Espartosa on 2007-11-07 12:38:50