February 24, 2024

Pro-North Korea newspaper is not violating UN sanctions with paywall, Tokyo says

Choson Sinbo is a pro-DPRK newspaper maintained by the General Association of Korean Residents, or Chongryon

A pro-North Korea newspaper that began monetizing its website in October is not violating United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, Japan's foreign ministry told NK News on Tuesday.

Generally speaking, UNSC sanctions aim to stop the North's weapons of mass destruction programs by minimizing inbound financial flows. But last month, the Choson Sinbo introduced a new paywall accepting payments from American Express, Diners Club International, Mastercard and Visa — a move that raised questions about whether cash could eventually be diverted to Pyongyang, where the newspaper has long maintained a bureau. (The North Korean hotel where the newspaper is based closed down in February as a COVID-19 protective measure, according to one Japanese news organization).