by WorldTribune Staff, August 28, 2018
Three South Korean firms imported North Korean coal from Russia in apparent violations of UN sanctions, according to South Korea’s spy chief.
Suh Hoon, the chief of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), told lawmakers at a closed-door meeting on Aug. 28 that the NIS reported the coal shipments to the Office of National Security under Cheong Wa Dae last October.
Related: Report: Ships carrying North Korean coal entered South Korea ports multiple times, July 19, 2018
Suh was quoted as saying that he reported the coal imports to the Blue House though there was no direct report to President Moon Jae-In, Yonhap reported.
North Korea is banned from exporting coal, iron ore and other mineral resources under UN Resolution 2371, which was passed in August 2017.
Meanwhile, the NIS said that it does not view the opening of an envisioned inter-Korean liaison office as constituting a violation of UN sanctions, the Yonhap report said.
South Korea had planned to open the communication office in the North’s border city of Kaesong in August. But the plan was largely put off following the cancellation of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to the North.
“The liaison office is aimed at making regular contacts between the two Koreas. It will also help spur communications for (North Korea’s) denuclearization,” the NIS was quoted as saying. “About 20 to 30 personnel will likely stay there.”
The NIS added that North Korea has secured some 4.8 million tons of food, topping 85 percent of its aggregate demand.
“North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered the implementation of measures to cope with droughts and an unprecedented heat wave has caused human casualties and curbed production,” the NIS said.