Archive for the ‘EU’ Category

EU restrictions on Air Koryo

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

According to the Korea Herald (4/26/2011): The EU has announced it is maintaining the policy established last year.

Antiquated North Korean airliners have been banned from operating in European countries for six years in a row as part of the European Union’s prohibition on 21 states that have failed to meet its safety standards, a U.S.-funded private radio station reported Tuesday.

Under the EU ban, Pyong­yang’s Air Koryo can only fly two new airliners it purchased from Russia last year to the E.U. member states, according to Radio Free Asia.

Read the full story here:
EU prohibits N. Korea’s aged planes for six years
Korea Herald

According to the Daily NK (3/31/2010): Recently purchased Tupolev’s allowed to fly to EU.

Air Koryo, North Korea’s flag carrier, has been given back partial permission to fly in EU airspace following the quarterly update to the EU’s list of banned airlines.

The lifting of restrictions against the airline is highly conditional, only allowing for entry by two of the airlines’ mostly Soviet-era fleet.

According to European Commission press release IP/10/388 which was released yesterday, March 30th;

“With this update, the Air Koryo licensed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, subject to an operating ban since March 2006, is allowed to resume operations into the EU with two aircraft which are fitted with the necessary equipment to comply with mandatory international standards and following appropriate oversight by its authority. The rest of its fleet remains barred from operating into the EU.”

The two aircraft permitted to operate in EU airspace are a Tupolev Tu-204-300 delivered to Air Koryo in 2007 and currently serving on the Pyongyang-Beijing route, and a Tu-204-100B.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas also said in yesterday’s statement, “Safety comes first. We are ready to support countries that need to build up technical and administrative capacity to guarantee the necessary standards in civil aviation. But we cannot accept that airlines fly into the EU if they do not fully comply with international safety standards.”

It is unclear whether Air Koryo plans to exercise its right to enter the EU, though there have been rumors that it plans to begin some kind of service between Pyongyang and Berlin.

Read the full article here:
Two Air Koryo Jets Back in EU Good Books
Daily NK
Chris Green

According to Yonhap (3/25/2010):

The European Union is expected to relax its four-year ban on the North Korean state carrier, Air Koyro, from all operations in its member states, a source at the European Commission said Wednesday.

Air Koryo has been on the EU’s blacklist of airlines failing to meet international safety standards since the list was first put together in 2006. Currently, five individual carriers, including Air Koryo, and all carriers from 15 countries — 228 companies in total — are on the blacklist.

The EU’s Air Safety Commission met last week to review the list and recommended that the restrictions on the North Korean airline be relaxed to “Annex B,” which means that the carrier can operate in the region under “specific conditions,” the source said.

Air Koryo officials attended last week’s meeting to brief the commission on the safety measures they have taken so far, the source said. It was unclear what conditions would be imposed for Air Koyro if the ban is relaxed.

The Air Safety Commission is an advisory panel without decision-making power, but its recommendations are usually reflected when the blacklist is updated. The list is revised three times a year, with this year’s first update slated for late this month.

Read the full story here:
EU expected to relax ban on N. Korean carrier Air Koryo

According to Yonhap (1/9/2010):

Air Koryo, North Korea’s air carrier, has been banned from offering flight services to Europe for a fifth year after having failed to meet international safety requirements, U.S. international broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Saturday.

The North Korean carrier has been involved in the list of carriers prohibiting from flying to the 27 members of European Union that was released this year, RFA said.

Air Koryo reportedly has a fleet of about 20 planes made between the 1960s and 1970s in the Soviet Union.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean airline banned from flying to Europe


DPRK-EU trade grows in 2010

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

According to KBS:

The Voice of America says that North Korea’s exports to the European Union more than doubled year-on-year in 2010 as the communist country exported petroleum products worth 55 million euros to the Netherlands in the first half of last year.

Quoting data from Eurostat, the statistic agency of the EU, the broadcaster said that North Korea’s exports to the EU surged from 50 million euros in 2009 to over one hundred million euros last year.

However, the North’s imports from the EU inched up only about two million euros from 70 million euros in 2009 to 72 million euros in 2010.

I am pretty swamped at the moment.  I did a quick search for the original data source with no success. If you have any idea where to find it, please let me know.

Read the full story here:
NK’s Exports to EU Doubled in 2010


EU Extends Visa Bans and Asset Freezes on DPRK

Friday, December 24th, 2010

According to the Choson Ilbo:

The European Union has decided to renew and extend its list of people and entities in North Korea who are subject to restrictive measures.

One individual and six entities were added to the list due to their involvement with the North’s nuclear arms program or other weapons-related activities.

The measures include both a visa ban and an asset freeze. The list, which currently contains 18 individuals and 12 entities, was published in the EU Official Journal on Thursday.

The EU says “the decision also limits financing activities and trade” with Pyongyang, particularly of arms and related materials that could be used in the development of weapons of mass destruction.

The official EU publication, featuring all of the specifics, can be found here (PDF).

Read the full story here:
EU Extends Visa Bans and Asset Freezes on N.Korea
Choson Ilbo


DPRK bank transfers for nuclear program alarms EU

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

According to Bloomberg:

North Korea’s use of international banks to facilitate nuclear weapons-related trade requires financial institutions to step up their vigilance, the European Union said.

North Korea exports $100 million in weapons and missiles each year in violation of United Nations sanctions, a UN panel wrote in a report released on Nov. 10. The EU said it’s concerned that some of the country’s trade involves prohibited nuclear technologies.

The 27-nation EU today urged all members of the International Atomic Energy Agency to “exercise particular vigilance over exports and financial transfers” in order “to prevent a contribution to proliferation-sensitive activities.”

Tensions with North Korea have increased in recent weeks. The country has built a new facility for extracting uranium, the key ingredient for nuclear weapons, a U.S. scientist reported on Nov. 20. Three days later, North Korea fired artillery at Yeonpyeong island, killing soldiers and civilians.

North Korea’s new nuclear facilities “could bolster its pursuit of a weapons capability and increases our concerns about prospects for onward proliferation of fissile material and of sensitive technologies to other parties,” U.S. Ambassador Glynn Davies said in a statement at IAEA’s meeting in Vienna.

The U.S. has been pressuring banks to cut ties with the North Korea’s regime, State Department documents posted today on showed.


Austria’s Financial Market Authority told the U.S. that it “exercised additional surveillance regarding North Korean financial activities” and that one bank cut ties with the country “to maintain its good reputation,” according to a February 2006 cable.

The U.S. and Japan will hold a week of naval drills beginning tomorrow. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington will join a force of about 400 aircraft and 60 warships. Drills will include responding to ballistic missile attacks on Pacific islands, the Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces said in a statement.

“We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state,” Davies said. “We seek an immediate halt of all nuclear activities in North Korea, including enrichment.”

Recent posts about the DPRK’s nuclear program can be found here. 

Recent posts on Yonpyong can be found here.

Read the full story here:
North Korean Use of Bank Transfers for Atomic Work Alarms Europe
Jennifer M. Freedman, Andrew Atkinson


“Let’s eat huge rabbits” (Part 2)

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Back in 2007 a German breeder of large rabbits expressed concern that some rabbits he sold to the DPRK had been eaten.  You can read about it here.

Well, the rabbit story is back.  According to Radio Free Asia:

The fate of dozens of giant rabbits sent to North Korean to start breeding a cheap source of protein for the famine-hit poor is still unknown, leading to speculation that they may already have been eaten by officials in the isolated Stalinist state.

“I am not aware of [exactly] what happened after we sent the rabbits,” said Jin Sook Lee, the director of the German charity, the German Overseas Korean Cooperation Association. “I don’t even know if they are being used to boost the food supply.”

She said the intended breeding program had run into difficulties once the German-bred outsize rabbits arrived in the isolated Stalinist state, where some sectors of the population still face malnutrition.

To ensure the successful expansion of the giant rabbit population, rabbit cross-breeding and species hybridization were needed, Lee said.

But many female rabbits failed to get pregnant, and of the rabbit kittens that were born, many were deformed, she added.

Boosting ‘rabbit-breeding’

Several charities have raised money to send giant rabbits to North Korea to boost the food supply, as the animals yield up to 10 kilos (22 lbs) of meat.

While the uber-bunnies normally breed as rapidly as their smaller cousins, the French humanitarian group Premier Urgence said it had send staff to North Korea to boost “rabbit breeding skills” among officials in charge of the farms.

The charity, which has received around U.S.$1.5 million in European Commission assistance funds for North Korea, said last November it planned to send a further 200 giant rabbits purchased in neighboring China to North Korea.

Chinese media have meanwhile reported comments made to the German magazine Der Spiegel by the original breeder of giant rabbits Karl Szmolinsky, who has had no information from North Korean officials since he sent 12 rabbits to boost the breeding farms in 2007.

“The only conclusion I can come to is that my rabbits made a nice meal for someone,” an online Chinese farmers’ news service quoted him as saying.

“I would really like to go over there and give them a hand.”

Premiere Urgence said in November that it had sent giant rabbits to seven farms in the country, including Ryongsung in Pyongyang, Youngtan in Northern Hwanghae province, Mikok, and Chungjong in Northern Pyongan province.

Livestock failures

Premiere Urgence said it planned to help the North Koreans improve giant rabbit reproductive rates by sending equipment and working on rabbit-farming skills.

The group said in November it had already dispatched three international staff members to Pyongyang, including a French and a Dutch national, while seven local staff members were already in the office, tasked with technical and clerical duties.

In an attempt to overcome severe food shortages, the North Korean authorities have already experimented with chicken, cow, and pig farming.

However, because of the decrepit state of North Korea’s facilities and the lack of technical skills, most attempts to raise livestock for food appear to have failed.

Director Lee said that sending giant rabbits from Europe was very expensive, costing about U.S. $100 per animal.

The first two rabbits to travel to North Korea paid a fare of U.S. $1,300, with vaccinations and veterinary fees on top of that.

She said her group had given up further plans to send giant rabbits to North Korea.

Experts also said the giant rabbits require more than one kilo (2.2 lbs) of carrots and potatoes daily, hard to come by in impoverished North Korea.

Szmolinsky, 67, of the eastern German town of Eberswalde near Berlin, was first approached by North Korean officials in 2006 after he won a prize for breeding Germany’s largest rabbit.

According to the United Nations, North Korea suffers widespread food shortages, and many people “struggle to feed themselves on a diet critically deficient in protein, fats, and micronutrients.”

Each of Szmolinsky’s rabbits produces around seven kilos (15 lbs) of meat, and under normal conditions should be able to produce 60 offspring a year.

Read the full story here:
Giant Rabbits’ Fate ‘Unknown’
Radio Free Asia
Noh Jung-min


EU implements further sanctions on DPRK

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The EU has issued a list of 12 DPRK officials who will be denied entry visas to member countries.  According to the Choson Ilbo:

The EU has imposed sanctions targeting North Korea’s top leadership over the country’s nuclear weapons development. Twelve officials were blacklisted, many of them thought to be leader Kim Jong-il’s closest advisers.

The list includes Vice Marshal Kim Yong-chun (74), the minister of the armed forces, as well as Jang Song-taek (64), the director of the North Korean Workers Party’s Administration Department who is Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law. Six of 13 members of the powerful National Defense Committee were blacklisted.

At a session of the Environment Council in Brussels on Dec. 22, the EU approved new sanctions against North Korea, including an entry ban on individuals and goods. EU regulations are binding on the 27 member states and overrule individual national laws.

The four other blacklisted committee members are O Kuk-ryol, the deputy chairman of the National Defense Commission; Jon Pyong-ho, the secretary of the Central Committee and head of the Committee’s Military Supplies Industry Department; Paek Se-bong, the chairman of the Second Economic Committee of the Central Committee; and Ju Kyu-chang, the first deputy director of the Defense Industry Department. Also on the blacklist are Hyon Chol-hae, the deputy director of the General Political Department of the Armed Forces, and Pak Jae-gyong, the deputy director of the Logistics Bureau of the Armed Forces.

So Sang-guk, the chair of the Physics Department at Kim Il Sung University who laid the technical groundwork for the North’s nuclear development, and Pyon Yong-rip, the president of the State Academy of Sciences, were also blacklisted.

The legal statement issued by the EU can be found here on page 16. The complete list of officials affected by the travel ban are listed here on page 3The UN Security Council sanctioned five individuals in 2009.

The EU also maintained its ban on Air Koryo.  According to Yonhap (h/t The Marmot):

Air Koryo, North Korea’s air carrier, has been banned from offering flight services to Europe for a fifth year after having failed to meet international safety requirements, U.S. international broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Saturday.

The North Korean carrier has been involved in the list of carriers prohibiting from flying to the 27 members of European Union that was released this year, RFA said.

Air Koryo reportedly has a fleet of about 20 planes made between the 1960s and 1970s in the Soviet Union.

UPDATE: Here are the EU regulations adopted on Dec 22, 2009. Thanks to Mike.


GPI business delegation to DPRK

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

From GPI:

PDF Brochure here.

In the current financial and economic situation, companies face many challenges. They must cut costs, develop new products and find new markets. In these fields, North-Korea might be an interesting option. Since a few years, it is opening its doors to foreign enterprises. The labor costs are the lowest of Asia, and its skilled labor is of a high quality. It established free trade zones to attract foreign investors and there are several sectors, including textile industry, shipbuilding, agro business, logistics, mining and Information Technology (computer games, animation) that can be considered for trade and investment. Heineken is an example of a  Dutch company, active in North-Korea. Its beer is now widely available (see photo).

In order to explore these business opportunities, a Dutch trade delegation visited North-Korea in September. See a report of this mission here. Are you interested as well? Then join our upcoming mission in May 2010, when we will also visit the annual Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair. This fair can also be used by European companies to come in contact with potential buyers and suppliers in North-Korea, by using a booth. It is also possible for us to organize individual business tours, for participants from a single company.

With best regards,

Paul Tjia (director)
GPI Consultancy
P.O. Box 26151
3002 ED Rotterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: [email protected]
tel: +31-10-4254172
fax: +31-10-4254317


South Korea wants EBRD to finance DPRK economic transition

Monday, May 18th, 2009

No doubt the potential costs of North Korea’s economic transition occasionally keep South Korea’s finance minister awake at night…particularly when the international credit rating agencies review South Korea’s sovereign debt rating.  So it is only rational that South Korea would seek to spread these potential costs as widely as they can. 

Last week South Korea made a small pitch to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to facilitate the DPRK’s transition :

“I strongly recommend North Korea as a next candidate to become a recipient country, once it decides to transform itself into a market economy,” Young Geol Lee, vice minister of strategy and finance, said in a speech. “Please bear in mind that North Korea has great potentials as a future client of the EBRD.”

Read more here.


DPRK – ROK ambassadors attend London panel

Monday, April 13th, 2009


(Hat tip to a reader) On March 26, the Anglo-Korea Society in London hosted an interesting panel discussion with the London ambassadors from both North and South Korea along with Martin Uden, Britain’s ambassador to the ROK, and Stephen Lillie, the head of the FCO Far East Group.

It is a bit too late to attend, but below are summary links and photos:
1. Official page of the event (pictures at the bottom)

2. Pearl Daborn summary

3. Michael Rank summary

4. Jennifer Barclay summary

5. Marian Werner summary


EU backs radio broadcasts into DPRK, RoK backs VOA

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Several foreign organizations are broadcasting radio content into North Korea: Free North Korea Radio, Open Radio for North Korea, Radio Free Chosun, Voice of America and  Radio Free Asia.   

According to Yonhap, the EU government and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are throwing financial support behind FNKR, ORNK, and RFC:

The European Union (EU) and an international group of journalists forged a deal on Tuesday to provide 400 million won (US$290,000) to help anti-Pyongyang radio broadcasting stations run mostly by defectors from North Korea.

The EU and the Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) signed the deal with three stations — Free North Korea Radio, Open Radio for Korea and Radio Free Chosun — in Seoul to fund their programs for the next three years.

The stations have been producing and sending shortwave anti-communism and human rights radio broadcasts across the border. In the past, North Korea has asked South Korea to suspend the stations, calling them an obstacle to unification.

In a related Associated Press story, the South Korean government is allowing Voice of America access to South Korean transmission equipment for the first time since the 1970s:

That makes the signal much clearer than VOA’s long-running shortwave broadcasts from far-flung stations in the Philippines, Thailand and the South Pacific island of Saipan. Moreover, it’s an AM signal, so listening in doesn’t require a shortwave radio.

“Radio can play a big role in changing people,” said Kim Dae-sung, who fled the North in 2000 and is now a reporter at Free North Korea Radio, a shortwave radio broadcaster in Seoul. “Even if it’s simply news, it’s something that North Koreans have never heard of.”

Still, the move could be seen as yet more provocative policymaking by a government already at loggerheads with the North over Lee’s tough policy on Pyongyang, and comes at a time of heightened regional tensions over North Korea’s plans to launch a rocket early next month. Nuclear envoys from South Korea and Japan flew to Washington for talks Friday with top U.S. diplomats about North Korea.

Since Jan. 1, VOA has been using the antenna facilities of the Far East Broadcasting Company-Korea, a Christian evangelical radio station, for half of its three-hour nighttime broadcast into the North. The antenna is only 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the border.

South Korea prohibited VOA from broadcasting from its soil for carrying a 1973 report on the kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung, then a leading South Korean dissident. The authoritarian Seoul government at the time is widely believed to have been behind the abduction.

North Korea condemns such broadcasts as “U.S. psychological warfare” and often jams the signals. So far, it has not interfered with VOA’s new AM broadcast, said radio expert Park. Doing so requires more equipment than blocking shortwave signals, and the fact that North Korea isn’t doing so may indicate the North is struggling economically, he said.

Read the full stories here:
EU, reporters promise 400 million won to promote radio broadcasts into North

VOA wins powerful base for broadcasts into NKorea
Associated Press (via Herald Tribune)