By Eliaser Ndeyanale
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations minister Netumbo Nandi- Ndaitwah and a special envoy are on a diplomatic mission to North Korea despite questions having been raised regarding Namibia’s alliance with North Korea.
Nandi-Ndaitwah who is meeting with that country’s Foreign Affairs minister Ri Yong Ho and head of state Kim Yong Nam will discuss issues relating to the development of “friendly and cooperative relations and other issues of mutual concern”.
Earlier, Nandi-Ndaitwah in an interview with the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) claimed that the United Nations had given Namibia a clean bill of health as far as relations with North Korea are concerned.
Contrary to her claims, North Korea sanctions specialist Joshua Stanton, who runs the One Free Korea website was quoted saying while “not all diplomatic interactions with North Korea are prohibited,” Nandi-Ndaitwah’s denial of previous sanctions violations was spurious”.
“Either Ms. Nandi-Ndaitwah hasn’t read the resolutions or has chosen to defy them,” he said, warning that the US should be prepared to take further steps. If strong diplomatic appeals fail to bring that violation to an end, the State and Treasury Departments should act swiftly to sanction the North Korean and Namibian entities involved under section 104(a) of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act.”
A Korean independent newspaper NK News reported on Monday that Nandi-Ndaitwah had visited prominent propaganda sites around Pyongyang which has drawn concern from those monitoring the implementation of United Nations (UN) sanctions designed to prevent military
cooperation between North Korea and other countries.
In March this year Nandi- Ndaitwah confirmed that Namibia had among other deals contracted North Korea to build a munitions factory, military academy and a new headquarters for its ministry of defence, but contested that UN sanctions had been broken.
However, a UN Panel of Expert (PoE) report in February suggested the transfer of military services in deals worth an estimated US$335 million about N$23.9 billion constituted a possible sanctions breach, something the North Korean newspaper investigation subsequently echoed in April.
Notably, the meeting comes following sustained South Korean efforts to convince traditional allies of North Korea in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean to end or reduce their ties with Pyongyang, a goal pursued following the North’s fourth nuclear test and satellite launch earlier this year.
North Korea and Namibia have a long history of diplomatic and military cooperation, with Pyongyang providing significant support to the Namibian military during its war of independence.
Then North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong last visited Namibia in June last year, meeting President Hage Geingob and Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Detailed questions sent to the ministry on Friday were not responded to at the time of going to print.
-Additional reporting by NK News.org
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