Archive for the ‘Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (aka Kapmun Tosong, KOMID)’ Category

China pulls out of DPRK mining deal

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

According to the Choson Ilbo:

A Chinese investment company developing a copper mine in North Korea with a North Korean company sanctioned by the UN Security Council has reportedly called an abrupt halt to the project.

An industry source in China said the investment firm sent a letter to NHI Shenyang Mining Machinery, the company it had commissioned to build facilities for the mine in Hyesan, North Korea, telling it to stop construction. An estimated 400,000 tons of copper are deposited there.

The Chinese firm had signed an agreement with (North) Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID) [NKeconWatch: a.k.a. Korea Mining Development Corporation) to develop the mine in November 2006. But the North Korean partner was blacklisted by the UN Security Council after North Korea carried out its latest nuclear test.

The industry source said, “When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang in June last year, he pledged full support for the development of the Hyesan copper mine so that it could become a model for investment by Chinese business in North Korea. This prompted NHI to hurry construction so that production could start in September this year.”

But he added the Chinese government apparently persuaded the investment firm to stop the project as Beijing takes part in the UN sanctions. “Otherwise, it’s unusual for a project to be stopped at this late stage,” he said. The investment firm reportedly gave NHI no reason for the cancellation.

Looking at Hyesan on Google Earth, this appears to be the only large-scale minig operation in Hyesan.

Read the full article below:
N.Korea Mining Project Buckles Under UN Sanctions
Choson Ilbo


More UN sanctions

Friday, July 17th, 2009

On Thursday the UNSC adopted a travel ban on five North Koreans, an asset freeze on five DPRK organizations (and the five individuals), and banned the export of graphite and para-aramid fiber to the DPRK.  Below are the details:

UNSC Sanctions effective: July 16, 2009.

Officials named:
1. Ri Je-son, director at North Korea’s General Bureau of Atomic Energy (GBAE)
2. Hwang Sok-hwa, director at North Korea’s General Bureau of Atomic Energy (GBAE)
3. Yun Ho-jin, director of Namchongang  Trading Corp.
4. Ri Hong-sop, former director of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear research center
5. Han Yu-ro, director of Korea Ryongaksan General Trading Corp.

Organizations named:
1. General Bureau of Atomic Energy (GBAE)-DPRK weapons agency
2. Namchongang Trading Corp-alleged to have procured Japanese vacuum pumps and aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium.
3. Hong Kong Electronics-transferred millions of dollars to Tanchon Commercial Bank and Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., both subject to sanctions by Security Council agreement in April.
4. Korea Hyoksin Trading Corp
5. Korean Tangun Trading Corp-primarily responsible for the procurement of commodities and technologies to support” North Korea’s defense research and development program

Further Notes:
1. The North Korean’s actually have a web page for the Hyoksin Trading Corp.

2. Here is a previous post summarizing most of the sanctioning activites this year.

Read more below:
U.N. council sanctions North Korea entities, officials
Reuters (via Washngton Post)
Patrick Worsnip

North Korea Officials Sanctioned by UN for Travel, Nuke Program
Bill Varner


UN, US, ROK, sanction DPRK arms companies–and partners

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

On January 21, the day after the Obama administration took office, the White House approved certain trade sanctions–initiated by the Bush administration–to be printed in the Federal Register.  These sanctions targeted specific Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean companies that the US believes were/are violating arms export regulations governing missile technology and other proliferation activities.  [Read more, including Federal Register text, here]

After North Korea conducted a long-range missile test in April, the US pushed the UN Security Council to adopt a presidential statement which blacklists several additional North Korean firms. [Read more here].

After North Korea conducted a second nuclear test, in violation of UNSC resolution, the UNSC adopted a resolution which tightened sanctions on the DPRK. [Read more here]

In June, the South Korean government imposed sanctions on these DPRK companies for the first time [Read more here]

The US followed up the UNSC resolution by announcing an inter-agency team that will focus exclusively on enforcing DPRK sanctions [Read more here

Today, the US Treasury Department announced it was targeting Hong Kong Electronics (Kish Island, Iran) [from where a former FBI agent is still missing] for supporting the balcklisted North Korean organizations.  According to Market Watch:

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that it has targeted another player in North Korea’s missile proliferation network. The agency designated Hong Kong Electronics, located in Kish Island, Iran, for providing support to North Korea’s Tanchon Commercial Bank and Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. Those two firms have been targeted by the U.S. and the United Nations as part of North Korea’s nuclear proliferation network. “Today’s action is a part of our overall effort to prevent North Korea from misusing the international financial system to advance its nuclear and missile programs and to sell dangerous technology around the world,” said Stuart Levy, Treasury under-secretary for terrorism.

What does this mean? It means that any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States belonging to the company must be frozen. Americans also are forbidden from doing business with the firm. This probably does not amount to much economically, but is probably intended to discourage banks outside of the US from doing business with these firms.

UPDATE 1: It looks like the State Departmet is also going after a North Korean company believe to be involved in weapons proliferation today.  According to a statement by the Treasury Department:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today targeted North Korea’s missile proliferation network by designating Hong Kong Electronics under Executive Order 13382.  E.O. 13382 freezes the assets of designated proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with them, thereby isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems.  Hong Kong Electronics, located in Kish Island, Iran, has been designated for providing support to North Korea’s Tanchon Commercial Bank (Tanchon) and Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).

Tanchon and KOMID have also been designated by the United States under E.O. 13382 and the UN Security Council under Resolution 1718. The Department of State also today targeted North Korea’s nuclear proliferation network by designating Namchongang Trading Corporation (NCG), a North Korean nuclear-related company in Pyongyang, under E.O. 13382. 

“North Korea uses front companies like Hong Kong Electronics and a range of other deceptive practices to obscure the true nature of its financial dealings, making it nearly impossible for responsible banks and governments to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate North Korean transactions,” said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Today’s action is a part of our overall effort to prevent North Korea from misusing the international financial system to advance its nuclear and missile programs and to sell dangerous technology around the world.”

Since 2007, Hong Kong Electronics has transferred millions of dollars of proliferation- related funds on behalf of Tanchon and KOMID. Hong Kong Electronics has also facilitated the movement of money from Iran to North Korea on behalf of KOMID. Tanchon, a commercial bank based in Pyongyang, North Korea, is the financial arm for KOMID – North Korea’s premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.

Tanchon plays a key role in financing the sales of ballistic missiles for KOMID. Tanchon has also been involved in financing ballistic missile sales from KOMID to Iran’s Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which is the Iranian organization responsible for developing liquid-fueled missiles. SHIG has been designated under E.O. 13382 and sanctioned by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737. Since 2005, Tanchon has maintained an active relationship with various branches of Iran’s Bank Sepah, an entity designated under E.O. 13382 and sanctioned by the United Nations under UNSCR 1747, for providing financial services to Iran’s missile program. The U.S. has reason to believe that the Tanchon-Bank Sepah relationship has been used for North Korea-Iran proliferation-related transactions.

Here is the press release by the State Department:

The U.S. Department of State today targeted North Korea’s nuclear proliferation network by designating Namchongang Trading Corporation (NCG) under Executive Order 13382. E.O. 13382 is an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, and at isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems. Entities designated under E.O. 13382 are prohibited from engaging in all transactions with any U.S. person and are subject to a U.S. asset freeze.

NCG is a North Korean nuclear-related company in Pyongyang. It has been involved in the purchase of aluminum tubes and other equipment specifically suitable for a uranium enrichment program since the late 1990s.

The Department of the Treasury also today designated Hong Kong Electronics, located in Kish Island, Iran, for providing support to North Korea’s Tanchon Commercial Bank (Tanchon) and Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID). Tanchon and KOMID were designated by the United States under E.O. 13382 on June 28, 2005 and the UN Security Council under Resolution 1718 on April 24, 2009.

North Korea’s April 5, 2009 launch of a Taepo Dong-2 (TD-2) missile and May 25, 2009 nuclear test demonstrate a need for continued vigilance with respect to North Korea’s activities of proliferation concern. The designations add to continuing U.S. efforts to prevent North Korean entities of proliferation concern from accessing financial and commercial markets that could aid the regime’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles capable of delivering them.

McClatchy has more here.


South Korea sanctions DPRK firms

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Earlier this year the UN Security Council issued a Presidential Statement in response to the DPRK’s April rocket (missile) test. In the Presidential Statement, three North Korean firms were blacklisted–Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, Tanchon Commercial Bank, and Korea Ryongbong General Corporation–all of whom are suspected of having ties with the North’s missile and nuclear programs.

According to Yonhap, the South Korean government has also blacklisted these firms, though no South Korean firms have realtions with any of them:

This is the first time that South Korea has imposed financial sanctions on a North Korean company in relation to Pyongyang’s ballistic activity, the ministry said.

The ministry said that it will consider taking additional measures if the U.N. comes up with separate actions against the North for conducting its second nuclear test on May 25.

Read the full sotry here:
Seoul slaps sanctions on N. Korean firms for missile test
Koh Byung-joon


UNSC blacklists three DPRK companies

Friday, April 24th, 2009

In response to the DPRK’s rocket launch, the UN Security Council issued a presidential statement containing the following:

The Security Council reiterates that the DPRK must comply fully with its obligations under Security Council resolution 1718 (2006).

The Security Council demands that the DPRK not conduct any further launch.

The Security Council also calls upon all Member States to comply fully with their obligations under resolution 1718 (2006).

The Security Council agrees to adjust the measures imposed by paragraph 8 of resolution 1718 (2006) through the designation of entities and goods, and directs the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) to undertake its tasks to this effect and to report to the Security Council by 24 April 2009, and further agrees that, if the Committee has not acted, then the Security Council will complete action to adjust the measures by 30 April 2009.

(Read the full text of the statement here

Today the Security Council followed up this statement (and resolution 1718) by voting to blacklist three North Korean companies.  According to Reuters (via the Washington Post):

The North Korea sanctions committee met a Friday deadline set by the Security Council on April 13 to produce a list of goods and North Korean entities to be blacklisted under Security Council resolution 1718, passed after Pyongyang’s October 2006 nuclear test.

The three companies put on the list are Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., Korea Ryongbong General Corp. and Tranchon (Tanchon) Commercial Bank, according to a copy of the committee’s decision obtained by Reuters.

The decision said the three companies were linked to the military and active in procuring equipment and financing for North Korea’s ballistic missile and other weapons programs.

The blacklisting prohibits companies and nations around the world from doing business with the three firms, but the impact of the action might be largely symbolic.

One Western diplomat said the three blacklisted firms had subsidiaries that also would be subject to U.N. sanctions.

Committee members also decided to ban the import and export of items on an internationally recognized list of sensitive technologies used to build long-range missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The US imposed sanctions on three North Korean companies in the Federal Register earlier this year.  Of these three companies, one has made the UNSC list: the Korea Mining and Development Corporation.  I can only speculate as to the fate of the other two mentioned in the US Federal Register, Mokong Trading Corporation and the Sino-Ki company. 

Read more below:
UNSC Presidential Statement

U.N. committee puts 3 North Korea firms on blacklist
Reuters (via the Washington Post)
Louis Charbonneau


US might not have a DPRK envoy, but…

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

US slaps sanctions on DPRK companies
According to the Associated Press (Via CBS):

The United States is imposing sanctions on several Chinese, Iranian and North Korean companies for violating arms export regulations governing missile technology and other proliferation activities.

The sanctions are largely symbolic as they bar the companies from trade with the U.S. that they were not likely involved in. Although they were in the works for some time, the Obama team signed off on the sanctions on Jan. 21, a day after it took office, signaling a continuing tough stance from Washington on weapons technology transfers.

U.S. Slaps Sanctions On Overseas Companies
Associated Press (via CBS)

Here is a link to the text from the US Federal Register
Below is a summary:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to Section 73(a)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2797b(a)(1)); Section 11B(b)(1) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. app. 2410b(b)(1)), as carried out under Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001 (hereinafter cited as the “Export Administration Act of 1979”); and Executive Order 12851 of June 11, 1993; the U.S. Government determined on January 15, 2009 that the following foreign entities had engaged in missile technology proliferation activities that require the imposition of missile sanctions described in Section 73 of the AECA (22 U.S.C. 2797b)  and Section 11B of the EAA (50 U.S.C. Appx 24710b) on these entities:

Korea Mining and Development Corporation (KOMID) (North Korea) and  its sub-units and successors
–Mokong Trading Corporation (North Korea) and its sub-units and successors
–Sino-Ki (North Korea) and its sub-units and successors

And from the Donga Ilbo:

This is the eighth time for the mining company, which has been closely watched by Washington as an exporter of Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles and conventional weapons, to get U.S. sanctions.

The company was slapped with sanctions in 1992, 1998, 2000, 2003, January and August in 2007, and August last year.

Ex-IRA figure faces US counterfeiting charge
According to the Associated Press:

Irish police arrested former Workers Party leader Sean Garland, 74, outside the entrance of the fringe party’s Dublin headquarters — more than three years after he jumped bail in the neighboring British territory of Northern Ireland while facing a similar U.S. extradition warrant there.

Garland had been living openly in the Republic of Ireland — which typically refuses to extradite citizens to face criminal charges outside the European Union — since he left Belfast and abandoned a bail of 30,000 British pounds (about $53,000 at the time) following his October 2005 arrest.

U.S. authorities that year indicted Garland with receiving, smuggling and laundering millions in “superdollars” — so called because of their expert design — that the government of North Korea allegedly began distributing in the late 1980s to weaken the American currency. If extradited and convicted, Garland could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Only one of the past two-dozen extradition requests from the U.S. Justice Department has been approved by Irish judges, who generally oppose extradition, citing America’s harsher sentences and penal system.

Under [Garland’s] leadership, the Workers Party appealed in 1986 to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for funds. According to the 2005 U.S. indictment, Russian officials encouraged Garland and other Official IRA activists to take counterfeit U.S. $100 bills produced by North Korea.

Read the full story here:
Ex-IRA figure faces US counterfeiting charge
Associated Press
Shawn Pogatchnik

NK Defectors’ Groups to Get US Gov’t Aid
According to the Korea Times:

The U.S. Department of State will directly provide groups organized by North Korean defectors here with financial support for the first time, according to reports Sunday.

Thus far, Washington has funded local groups working for improvement of North Korean human rights via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private organization supporting freedom around the world.

The move was construed as part of increased U.S. efforts to shed light on humanitarian issues in the Stalinist state.

The State Department posted a notice on the Human Rights Democracy Fund (HRDF) last September and about 50 organizations reportedly applied for the program.

Among the beneficiaries, Free North Korea Radio and the Coalition for North Korean Women’s Rights were granted $500,000 and $300,000, respectively.

The groups will receive a certain amount of money every month for two to three years in accordance with their performance.

Kang Su-jin, founder and representative of the coalition, said she thinks that the U.S. department aims at nurturing North Korean defectors as future leaders through the direct funding.

An official of the department was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity by Radio Free Asia (RFA) that a total of $3 million has been set aside for the program.

But the official refused to elaborate on grantees, saying the issue was “very sensitive.”

Read the full story here:
NK Defectors’ Groups to Get US Gov’t Aid
Korea Times
Kim Sue-young


US to Announce More Sanctions on NK Entities

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Korea Times
Jung Sung-ki

(UPDATE: On Oct. 23, [2008] the State Department blacklisted two North Korean companies, Korea Mining Development Corp. and Korea Taesong Trading Co., for violating U.S. bans on the sale of equipment used in building missiles or other weapons of mass destruction to Iran and Syria. Citation: “North Korean Plane Was Grounded at U.S. Request “, Wall Street Journal, Jay Solomon, 11/1/2008 ) 

The U.S. State Department is expected to announce additional sanctions on North Korean entities connected to missile proliferation, Yonhap News reported Wednesday.

Some of the entities are believed to be linked to the Korea Mining Development Corporation (KOMID), which was designated in June 2005 in an executive order for supporting weapons of mass destruction proliferation, it said.

The measure would come at an awkward moment as envoys from six nations _ South and North Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan _ gather in Beijing from Wednesday for a fresh round of negotiations aimed at disabling and eventually dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and programs.

The U.S. Treasury had frozen some $25 million in North Korea-related money held in a Macau bank in late 2005, a punitive measure imposed as the six countries were signing an agreement toward denuclearization. That led to more than a year’s suspension in negotiations with the North.

The new round of six-party talks is already on shaky ground with suspicions that Pyongyang may have transferred nuclear-related material to Syria, prompting the unexplained Israeli air incursion into Syria earlier this month.

Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman, said Tuesday the new sanctions are related to missile technology transfers and downplayed possible negative repercussions on this week’s talks.

“The company that was sanctioned has been sanctioned previously for the same thing. So the net effect of this is really pretty minimal,” he said. “I don’t see…any reason why this should impact on the six-party talks.”

North Korea accused the United States of defending Israel’s recent airstrike against Syria, calling the strike a grave crime that undermines regional peace and stability.

The North’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said, “Israeli warplanes’ intrusion into the territorial airspace of Syria and bomb-dropping are an outright violation of Syria’s sovereignty and a grave crime that destroys regional peace and security,” according to Yonhap.

The North’s comments came days after high-level talks between North Korea and Syria. The two countries, which deny the allegation of a secret nuclear connection, did not provide details of Pyongyang talks.

Andrew Semmel, acting U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, said earlier this month that North Koreans were in Syria, and that Syria might have had contacts with “secret suppliers” to obtain nuclear equipment.

Semmel did not identify the suppliers. However, he said he could not exclude the possibility that a nuclear black-market network, run by the disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, might have been involved.

Semmel’s comments raised speculation that an alleged Sept. 6 Israeli incursion into Syrian airspace was a strike targeting a nuclear installation. U.S. officials have said Israeli warplanes struck a target. One U.S. military officer said the strike was aimed at weapons being shipped to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.