By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE Namibian Government will not terminate construction tenders it has given to Mansudae, a North Korean company that is building a munitions factory, a new military academy as well as the headquarters for the Ministry of Defence near Windhoek, International Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi- Ndaitwah has said.
Speaking at a press conference held at her office on Thursday last week, the minister denied claims of military ties between Windhoek and Pyongyang and said there had never been military cooperation between the two governments, adding that the projects were Government projects and could not be abandoned.
”Those are national projects funded by the Namibian Government. We can’t leave those projects that is why we are funding them. They are national assets and they have nothing to do with North Korea. A North Korean company was just given a tender just like any other company and we need them; we are in a competitive world.
“Look at our Heroes’ Acre or State House that they built for us; they are not military projects,” she said.
A UN Panel of Experts (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.
The panel also questioned the relationship between Namibia and Mansudae, and raised the possibility that Mansudae acted as a front for the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).
Several activities have come under suspicion. For instance, the UN sanctions specifically prohibit member-states from receiving assistance relating to the provision, manufacture or maintenance of arms and related materiel.
Last month the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation issued a media statement saying that Namibia was implementing United Nations sanctions against North Korea and cutting ties with two high-profile entities the KOMID and Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP), that have been operating in Namibia and involved in the construction of military facilities.
“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,” the statement read. The move is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2270, which was unanimously passed in early March following North Korea’s fourth underground nuclear test and another satellite launch. Both of these activities were in violation of previous UN resolutions against the DPRK.
KOMID has long been a designated entity and is identified as being North Korea’s primary arms dealer. MOP, while not a sanctioned entity, has been involved in contracts in Africa and generates funds for the North Korean government primarily via construction projects.
This includes, among other things, the construction of a munitions factory at Leopard Valley, in the Windhoek area which was done in conjunction with KOMID, according to the PoE report on North Korean sanctions. Such activities are in violation of UN resolutions.
MOP was also involved in the construction of the Heroes Acre monument and State House.
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