EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: North Korea Ambassador Breaks Silence On Military Ties With Uganda
By Patrick Ocaido
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) ambassador to Uganda has spoken out on the ‘ruined’ military cooperation between Kampala and Pyongyang.
In an exclusive interview with the Red Pepper, His Excellency Myong Kyong Chol recaps on the long-standing relationship between his country and Uganda. He further reveals why personnel from North Korea recently withdrew from the military training that they offered to Uganda Police Force (UPF).
It should be remembered that in May, Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa while addressing journalists at State House Entebbe declared that, “Following the UN sanctions, we are disengaging our relations with North Korea. We do not support proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
DPRK government responded that their country’s cooperation with Uganda started at the request of the Ugandan government long ago and has given substantial help to the country and that withdrawal of the military cooperation was because the ‘relevant contract had expired.’
Below are the excerpts following an interview with HE Myong Kyong Chol:
RP: What is the history of relationship between North Korea and Uganda and how has it evolved over time?
MK: The relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Uganda is on basis of friendship and cooperation, which are long-standing and traditional.
The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung and the great General Kim Jong Il extended unselfish material aid and moral and military support to show solidarity with the people of Uganda in their struggle to build a new
society in the past.
His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda visited the DPRK on several occasions in the past and met the great leader President Kim Il Sung. At present, the bilateral relations are developing on good terms amid deep care and attention by the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un and esteemed President Museveni.
RP: To what extent has this moral and military support that DPRK offered been of great benefit to Ugandan government?
MK: We offered assistance in various fields to the government and people of Uganda when they struggled hard to build a new society.
Bilateral cooperation was carried out in line with the common interests of the two peoples. Especially, the military cooperation, which had been implemented according to the contract by the two sides and, upon request made by the Ugandan side to the DPRK side, was successful.
RP: Talk about military training that DPRK has been offering to Ugandan police.
MK: Recently, another contract on military cooperation had been fulfilled successfully, thus greatly contributing to strengthening military capacity of Uganda. Personnel from the DPRK, who were involved in the cooperation, returned home, after having earned gratitude from the Ugandan side.
RP: If this military cooperation was highly valued by the two governments, then why was it cut short?
MK: We think that our assistance gave substantial help to Uganda in such a way that they laid foundations for the self-development in the military sector, without getting help from others.
RP: UN and U.S have all branded North Korea as the aggressor because of its nuclear weapons, is your country ready to stop proliferation such weapons of mass destruction?
MK: It is already a well-known fact that the DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons is a product of the deep-rooted and continuous policy of hostility pursued by the US against the DPRK.
RP: Being a highly militarized country that possesses nuclear weapon, how is this a threat to developing countries like Uganda?
MK: DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapon should not be a threat to Uganda or any other country. It is purposely for self-defence against US hostility.
RP: Does withdrawing military cooperation in anyway ruin the diplomatic ties between Uganda and DPRK?
MK: Although the US and its following forces make every vicious move aimed at cutting off the development of the relations between the DPRK and the friendly African countries, we will continue to make every
possible effort to develop in greater scope the relations with the African countries including Uganda.
RP: What is your last message to the people and government of Uganda?
MK: I take this opportunity to express my hope that you and the “Red Pepper”, newspaper of Uganda, through fair and objective report and media activities, will make positive contributions to the developing not only the bilateral relations but also the relationship between the DPRK and the African countries.