How North Korea Evades Sanctions in Southeast Asia: The Malaysia Case

July 20, 2017
Daniel Salisbury and Endi Mato

This article originally appeared in on July 20, 2017.

In the weeks after North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, senior U.S. State Department official Ambassador Joseph Yun traveled to Southeast Asia, seeking to persuade regional governments to further clamp down on North Korea’s activities. Yun visited Singapore to participate in the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, and later visited Myanmar.

These countries have seen significant cases involving North Korean illicit activities in the recent past. Singapore was host to a significant proliferation financing court case related to the giant interdiction of North Korea-bound weapons in the Panama Canal in 2013. The case against Singapore-based Chinpo Shipping collapsed in May this year. Until recently, Myanmar has been a significant customer of North Korean arms. It has worked to curb its reliance as part of broader economic and political change, and a “nonproliferation U-turn” since 2011.

However, these two countries are by no means the only states in the region that have seen significant North Korean activity. Following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam (Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother, who was assassinated with nerve agent VX earlier this year at Kuala Lumpur airport), North Korea watchers and sanctions experts have turned their attention to North Korea’s relationship with Malaysia.

Two cases uncovered by investigators surrounding Malaysian-based companies Glocom and Kay Marine seemingly involve North Korea’s use of Malaysia to breach the UN arms embargo.

Continue reading at

Comments Are Closed