Desie Heita Windhoek The Namibian government remained silent of accusation levelled against it by the United State of America that Namibia went out of her way to engage in a systematic concealment of trade relations with North Korea through Chinese companies operating in Namibia in order to bypass sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Pyongyang. The US government’s assertions appear to concur with recent UN reports that Namibia has commissioned new projects – including defence contracts – to run throughout 2017. Some projects were reportedly commissioned in June 2016, the same month that a special Namibian delegation informed the UN of its intention to terminate the trade relationship with North Korean firms. That was after Namibia announced that it had cancelled contracts with the North Korean companies, as per the UN resolution 2270 of 2016, says the UN. The US Treasury also alleged that to bypass sanctions the military projects that were handled by the North Korean companies were then subcontracted to a Chinese subsidiary company based in Namibia: Qingdao Construction Namibia. Qingdao, it is alleged, then went on to employ all the North Korean workers and took over the North Korean materials on project sites. The Chinese company even made arrangements for senior North Korean representatives, including a Kim Tong-chol who has ow been blacklisted, to be employed as senior executives in Qingdao, America claims. These assertions are contained in the new US Treasury blacklist, released on August 22, which added Namibia to the sanctions list, and, by the same measure, on the Japanese blacklist. The US and Japanese government, as well as the UN, allege that by doing trade with North Korea Namibia is enabling Pyongyang to generate the much-needed cash “to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilise the region”. On Tuesday, North Korea fired off the first ever missile from Pyongyang that flew over Japan, landing in the Pacific Ocean, some 1,180km east of the northern Japanese island. Yesterday Pyongyang said the launch was “the first step of the military operation of the (North Korean military) in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam”, where the US has a strategic military base. The intermediate-range missile, identified by the North Koreans as the Hwasong-12, that flew over Japan, further fuelled tensions between North Korea and the US and its allies, Japan and South Korea and prompted the US to conduct a test intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii, according to a statement from the US Missile Defense Agency yesterday. Last year, Namibia’s International Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, after the UN protested the country’s relations with North Korea, visited Pyongyang to inform that country’s leadership that the commercial ties that previously existed between the two countries would be severed, to comply with the provisions of international law. However, the UN still has Namibia in its sights for sanctions, on the ground that the country is resorting to mere rhetoric, with no real commitment to action. The US Treasury and Japan were the first to blacklist the Namibian-based North Korean businessman, 49-year-old Kim. China’s subsidiary Qingdao Construction Namibia has also been blacklisted, along with Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP) Group of Companies, trading as MOP Architectural & Technical Services Namibia. According to the US Treasury, the Windhoek-based Kim only took up the seior post of director in Qingdao recently, but actually his official job title is managing director Mansudae Overseas Projects and director of Mansudae Overseas Projects Architectural and Technical Services (PTY) Ltd in Namibia. Kim, who resides in Windhoek’s leafy and hilly upmarket suburb of Lüdwigsdorf, is said to also be managing Mansudae operations in other African countries, particularly Angola. Mansudae Angola is 90 percent owned by Mansudae Namibia. Further, a UN report submitted by a panel of experts lists various construction projects at military bases across Namibia, under Ministry of Defence contracts, as some of the projects given to Mansudae in June 2016, after Namibia had said it had cancelled contracts with the North Korean companies, as per the UN Resolution 2 of 2016. The report included signed documentation for work awarded to MOP Architectural & Technical Services, some of which were signed on June 26, 2016, including insurance documents and bank non-responses between the government, Mansudae and Namibian financial institutions. It also includes aerial satellite photos that show that the UN has been tracking the trade, construction at military installation sites and consignments between Namibia and North Korea since at least 2010. The representatives of Qingdao Construction Namibia did not respond to requests for comment, despite text messages and phones calls to their mobile phones since Tuesday.
2017-08-31 09:44:34 1 years ago