UNITED NATIONS — North Korea said Friday it can’t pay nearly $184,000 in dues to the United Nations because of U.N. sanctions that prevent the transfer of funds from Pyongyang.
North Korea’s U.N. Mission said sanctions imposed by the Security Council in early August on the Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is in charge of international transactions, made payment impossible.
The mission said Ambassador Ja Song Nam met Undersecretary-General for Management Jan Beagle Friday afternoon to request the opening of “banking channels” to make the DPRK’s required $183,458 payment for 2018 for the U.N.’s regular operations and separate budgets for peacekeeping and international tribunals.
The Security Council imposed sanctions on the bank in a wide-ranging resolution following North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States on July 3 and July 27.
It imposed tougher sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion on Sept. 3, and even tougher measures in December after its test on Nov. 29 of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet.
The United States banned the Foreign Trade Bank from the U.S. financial system in 2013, and the DPRK Mission blamed the Trump administration for spurring last August’s U.N. sanctions against the bank.
A statement from the mission, given to The Associated Press late Friday, blamed the unilateral U.S. sanctions and “illegal and unlawful” U.N. sanctions resolutions “fabricated by the U.S. as a sponsor and its followers” for creating “enormous difficulties” and hindering normal activities such as paying U.N. dues.
This “shows the ulterior political objectives of the sanctions maneuvers pursued by the U.S. and its followers and how cruel and uncivilized the sanctions are,” the DPRK said.
The mission asked the U.N. to provide a “lifeline” and, through its management chief, “to secure promptly the bank transaction channel through which the DPRK can pay regularly its financial contribution.”
A DPRK diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said ambassador Ja also raised the issue of U.N. agencies and organizations providing humanitarian aid that can’t get money into the country for their operations.
The Security Council resolution adopted in August does authorize its committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea to make exemptions on a case-by-case for humanitarian and economic activities.
The DPRK diplomat stressed that his government has “faithfully” made its financial contributions to the U.N. in the past — and he said the exemption should be used to allow the DPRK “to pay its financial contributions without failure.” The exemption should also be used to provide a banking channel for U.N. agencies and humanitarian organizations operating in the country, he said.
According to the diplomat, U.N. management chief Beagle responded saying: “Let’s try together to solve this issue, this problem.”