The US State Department has suggested that President Donald Trump’s recent vulgar comments will not hinder US efforts to persuade African countries to sever ties with North Korea.
“We have very strong relationships across the continent,” said Robert Scott, an Africa affairs official in the State Department. “Those remain unchanged.”
His assurance was offered during a press teleconference highlighting US resolve to prevent North Korea from acquiring any revenue in Africa for its nuclear weapons programme.
This newly publicised US campaign may serve as a gauge of how badly American diplomacy has been affected by Mr Trump’s reported reference to African countries as “shithole”.
State Department officials made clear on Wednesday that they are pressing African countries to end all military and commercial dealings with North Korea.
“Many governments on the continent have longstanding relationships with North Korea that warrant a serious reassessment,” Mr Scott said.
“The United Nations North Korea Panel of Experts has documented multiple instances of North Korean arms activities with various African governments,” he added.
Mr Scott did not name African countries said to be carrying on trade with North Korea in defiance of international prohibitions.
But in a leaked report in September the UN experts cited Tanzania, Uganda and nine other African states as targets of investigations into alleged violations of sanctions imposed on North Korea by the Security Council.
TANZANIA AND NORTH KOREA
The panel said it was assessing claims that Tanzania and a North Korean corporation had signed military-related contracts worth about $12.5 million.
The deals with the Haegeumgang Trading Corporation reportedly involve repairs and upgrades of Tanzanian surface-to-air missile systems and air defence radar.
The UN experts added that they are continuing to investigate North Korean training of Ugandan military and police forces.
In a speech at the UN in September last year, President Yoweri Museveni said Uganda is complying with the sanctions against North Korea. “We are, however, grateful that, in the past, the North Koreans helped us to build our tank forces,” Mr Museveni added.
The US global squeeze on North Korea is yielding results in Africa, Mr Scott said on Wednesday.
“A number of African countries,” which he again did not name, have taken “extremely positive steps to go beyond UN Security Council resolutions in promising to sever ties with North Korea,” he said.
Source: Pocket News