Uganda is violating U.N. sanctions against North Korea

When North Korea sends its diplomats to Africa, presumably to ask for their votes against a General Assembly resolution that would refer Kim Jong Un to the ICC, I hope it sends at least some of the same diplomats who called Botswana’s U.N. Ambassador a “black bastard,” if only to show the hypocrisy of the African leaders who received them:

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda gave a state banquet late Thursday in honor of North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, praising Pyongyang for what he said was its prominent role in fighting imperialism.

Kim Yong Nam, the president of the country’s parliament, is in Uganda as part of a rare tour of Africa, where North Korea has actively tried to cultivate potential allies like the long-serving, increasingly anti-West Museveni.

The North Koreans are training Ugandan police in martial arts and Museveni hailed North Korea for helping to mechanize Uganda’s military over the years. North Korea is also training Ugandan military pilots, he said.

Kim visited Sudan and the Republic of Congo before arriving in Uganda for “an official goodwill visit,” according to the Korean Central News Agency. [AP]

Any training in the use of “arms and related materiel” would violate UNSCR 1874:

“9.   Decides that the measures in paragraph 8(b) of resolution 1718 (2006) shall also apply to all arms and related materiel, as well as to financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of such arms or materiel;

“10.  Decides that the measures in paragraph 8(a) of resolution 1718 (2006) shall also apply to all arms and related materiel, as well as to financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of such arms, except for small arms and light weapons and their related materiel, and calls upon States to exercise vigilance over the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of small arms or light weapons, and further decides that States shall notify the Committee at least five days prior to selling, supplying or transferring small arms or light weapons to the DPRK;

Here’s a link to UNSCR 1718, in case you want to pursue that, too. The North Korean military relationship with Uganda goes back to at least 2010, when North Korean instructors first began to train Ugandan police officers in tae kwon do. Having drawn no reaction from the State Department for that, the Ugandans apparently decided that it was safe to expand the relationship to clear violations of the resolutions.

U.S. relations with Uganda have been under strain recently, because of the latter’s extreme anti-gay legislation. I’d say cut their aid and cancel a military exercise, but we just cut their aid and canceled a military exercise. Still, the U.S. recently “ordered a sharp increase” in the deployment of U.S. Special Operations forces to Uganda to hunt down warlord Joseph Kony.

Off-hand, I can think of several places where those forces are needed more badly to defeat a more direct threat to U.S. interests. Indeed, North Korea’s proliferation and its violation of U.N. sanctions are a greater threat to our national interests than the doings of a local warlord in Central Africa, and the humanitarian crisis in North Korea is far greater than the one in Uganda. Perhaps it’s time to force Uganda to choose between having a military relationship with North Korea, and a military relationship with the United States.

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