Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Namibia bows to international pressure

President Hage Geingob and North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Su Yong pictured at State House in June lastyear.

President Hage Geingob and North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Su Yong pictured at State House in June lastyear.

•    Cuts ties with two North Korean  companies
•    Vows to maintain bilateral ties

Namibia has seemingly bowed in to international pressure regarding its links with the controversial North Korean state by terminating the services of two North Korean companies operating here. Government announced yesterday that, like all members of the United Nations, it is obliged to implement all UN Security Council resolutions.

“Therefore, subsequent to the unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2270 (2016) of 2 March 2016, on sanctions against the DPRK, the Government of the Republic of Namibia, in fulfilling her international obligations to abide by UN Security resolutions, has decided to terminate the services of Komid and MOP in Namibia, for as long as the UN Security Council sanctions against the DPRK are in place,” said the ministry’s permanent secretary Selma Ashipala-Musavyi. Namibia’s ties to North Korea were seen as a threat to Namibia’s relations with the world community, as they were a violation of the UN sanctions expressly prohibiting any such deals.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, recently visited Pyongyang as Special Envoy of President Hage Geingob to convey the above message.

The move to cut the ties with the two firms comes a few months after Namibia defended its links to North Korea and confirmed the existence of a North Korean-built munitions factory in the country, but said the factory was not in contravention of any United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

The Namibian in March quoted Deputy Prime Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah saying the Namibian Government was not involved in anything untoward, and that government has co-operated with the United Nations and openly answered and forwarded information requested by the UN. The UN was investigating whether North Korea was in contravention of its sanctions, especially the Asian country’s nuclear armament programme.

“The investigation was also targeting the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (Komid), which the US Treasury described last year as “North Korea’s primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons,” stated the report.Both the UN Security Council and the government of the DPRK have been informed accordingly, said the permanent secretary.

“While Namibia remains committed to the implementation of all UN sanctions resolutions, the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation wishes to state that the warm diplomatic relations with the DPRK will be maintained,” she said
Last year June, North Korea’s foreign affairs minister, Ri Su Yong, visited Namibia under instructions from President Kim Jong-Un.

With North Korea constantly facing an avalanche of criticism from the world’s superpowers for its continued interest in developing nuclear weapons, Geingob assured his North Korean counterpart that such actions will not affect the bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Of course, there are new international developments under the United Nations Security Council resolution, which we have to pay attention to, but it will not affect our bilateral relations because Namibia is sovereign state and can therefore enter into agreements with any country,” said Geingob at the time.

He added at the time that: “I always say that Namibia is a child of international solidarity, midwifed by the United Nations. We are a friend to all and foe to none.”
Namibia and North Korea have worked together on the economic front in recent years with Mansudae Overseas Projects, a company from North Korea, constructing the Heroes Acre and the State House. The Independence Memorial Museum of Namibia was also constructed by a North Korean firm.

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