Hyundai Agreement Clashes with UN Resolution

first_imgAnalysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion North Korea has reached an agreement with the Hyundai Group to resume tours to Mt. Geumgang and Kaesong, but UNSC Resolution 1874 strictly regulates financial relations with North Korea. This is likely to bring the Hyundai Group agreement into direct conflict with partner countries and international law, causing the South Korean government a headache over how to proceed. Article 20 of Resolution 1874 urges member states “not to provide public financial support for trade with (North Korea) where such support could contribute to the country’s nuclear-related or ballistic missile-related or other ‘WMD’-related programs or activities.”Additionally, Article 19 contains the following caution for member states “not to enter into new commitments for grants, financial assistance, or concessional loans to the DPRK, except for humanitarian and developmental purposes directly addressing the needs of the civilian population, or the promotion of denuclearization.” The key question, then, is whether the dollars North Korea could earn from any resumption of Mt. Geumgang or Kaesong tourism projects would be seen as relevant to development objectives or as a route to gaining nuclear and missile development funding.Suspicions have been raised on a number of occasions in the past over whether North Korea has been diverting funds from tourism projects to military development, but no specific evidence has ever been found.If Mt. Geumgang tourism, which ceased after the killing of Park Wang Ja in July of last year by a North Korean soldier, and Kaesong tours, which were disrupted by North Korea’s December 1st Overland Transit Restriction Measure, were to be resumed, then at least $30,000,000 annually would land on the doormat of the North Korean government. Therefore, the South Korean government has reacted cautiously to the Hyundai agreement, with Cheon Hae Sung, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Unification saying, “We view the agreement positively,” however, “the most recent negotiations, no matter how one looks at them, were negotiations at the civilian level.”Were the South Korean government to countenance a resumption of tours, it would face the criticism that it was undermining the efforts of the international community to put a stop to the development of WMDs by blocking North Korean access to hard currency.Further, South Korea has recently emphasized its determination to impose sanctions on North Korea for its wrongdoings, and has acted assertively to that end, participating in Security Council “P5 + 2” meetings during the formulation of Resolution 1874, for example, so any reversal of such an apparently firm position would not be easy to explain away.As if to acknowledge this, the South Korean authorities’ reportedly delivered their own interpretation of the five-item agreement between North Korea and the Hyundai Group directly to the U.S.’ Philip Goldberg, who is leading an interagency delegation coordinating the implementation of UN sanctions to Seoul on 23rd and 24th of this month. Goldberg’s delegation is expected to discuss Seoul’s participation in efforts to enforce sanctions as well as this potential breach with the terms of the Security Council resolution.According to the analysis of one anonymous researcher at a national policy institute, “It is difficult to find clear evidence as to whether or not the gains from Mt. Geumgang and Kaesong tourist projects have ever been used for North Korean nuclear and WMD development, and since the tourist projects began as civilian projects long before the existence of Resolution 1874, it is not likely that this issue will become an international one.”Moreover, the researcher claimed, the South Korean government is likely to remain leery of expanding cooperation with unreliable North Korean partners, so Seoul may try to handle the Hyundai agreement from the perspective of restoring past projects and little more. Hyundai Agreement Clashes with UN Resolution SHARE Facebook Twitter By Kim So Yeol – 2009.08.19 6:26pm RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke” Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center AvatarKim So Yeol last_img read more