By Luc Cohen and Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK, Jul 27 (Reuters) – UN investigators monitoring compliance with sanctions against North Korea are analyzing a possible military and technological agreement between Pyongyang and Venezuela and have warned Caracas that it could violate the resolutions of the Council of United Nations Security.
The investigation comes as U.S. sanctions on the South American country, seeking to pressure President Nicolás Maduro’s departure from office after being accused of manipulating his 2018 re-election, and growing diplomatic isolation are pushing Venezuela to deepen ties with adversaries. Americans like Iran and North Korea.
In two letters to the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada, sent in October and last month, the agency’s independent panel of experts requested the specific terms of the agreement and explained that sanctions could prohibit such an agreement, according to the missives. by Reuters and that had not been previously reported.
“Given that such cooperation is a recognized way by the DPRK to violate relevant UN resolutions, the panel wishes to request a response … regarding information on the alleged cooperation,” wrote the panel’s coordinator. Alastair Morgan, June 12.
North Korea’s formal name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The country has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 and these have been reinforced by the 15 members of the Security Council over the years in an attempt to cut funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The UN panel of experts reports annually to the Council on compliance with the sanctions.
In its latest report on March 2, the panel said it had begun investigating the possible military and technological cooperation agreement signed by Diosdado Cabello, second-in-command of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and head of the Constituent Assembly, akin to Maduro, during a trip to Pyongyang in September 2019.
Reuters was unable to verify whether there is a military and technological agreement between North Korea and Venezuela.
In a tweet from October 2, 2019, Maduro congratulated Cabello for the “tremendous deals” signed during his Asian tour, which included stops in North Korea and Vietnam.
During a conversation with Cabello on state television that night, Maduro referred to military deals, but did not provide details or specify whether they were signed with North Korea or Vietnam.
“You deployed with our brothers in North Korea and our brothers in Vietnam, reaching great agreements for agricultural production, great agreements for political formation, for industrial production, for commercial exchange, for energy exchange, for support and military cooperation, “said Maduro.
Venezuela’s information ministry, which responds to media inquiries on behalf of the government, and Moncada did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the UN investigation. The North Korean mission in New York also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During the televised conversation with Maduro, Cabello described North Korea in almost utopian terms, praising the cleanliness of its streets and claiming that he saw “not a single person with a sour face, with a sad face.”
“The children who go to their house, they sing, they are happy, they stand in a corner because there is an orchestra playing to them while they pass. Whose orchestra? Children too,” said Cabello. But he also made reference to a “secret”, adding: “what I saw later I will tell in person”.
Maduro replied: “I can only say, tremendous agreements.”
(Report by Luc Cohen and Michelle Nichols)