H.E Myong Kyong Chol, Ambassador of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Uganda has said that his country will continue offering all the necessary support to the Uganda government despite ‘harsh’ UN sanctions.
In an exclusive interview at the Kololo based Embassy on Monday, Myong Kyong said that DPRK will continue offering including training and education to the Ugandan police because security and peace is a pre-requisite for every country.
“My country has a long history of friendly relations with Uganda and if Ugandan government still needs our support then we are willing to cooperate. DPRK has supported several African governments but we don’t have any interests whatsoever,” Kyong said.
“DPRK is a self-reliant young state and my country is only interested in sharing experiences, opinions with Uganda on how to develop the economy.”
In 2014, government struck a deal with DPRK where the latter started providing artillery training to Ugandan police.
North Korea trained Uganda’s first tank corps in 1987, provided Uganda’s military with a $4-million loan, sent 40 military advisors to the country, and trained a number of Ugandan fighter pilots.
Myong’s statement comes after a January report by the Royal United Service Institute for Defence and Security Studies listed Uganda among the top five countries in the world that have defied the UN sanctions against North Korea and continued military cooperation with them.
As a result, the UN warned Uganda among other countries to cut ties with Pyongyang and apparently, Tanzania has cut off ties with DPRK after the UN sanctions.
The UN resolutions 1874 of 2009 and 1718 of 2006 stops North Korea from exporting arms, providing military training and military equipment to any UN member state.
However, DPRK’s Myong insists that his country is only offering Ugandan police with military training, medical services and construction works, but not any hardware equipment.
“It is up to the Ugandan government to decide if they still need our military cooperation. But I am sure they will not back off,” He said.
Government Deputy Spokesperson Col (Rtd) Shaban Bantariza declined to comment on the matter referring our reporter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem was contacted, he said that Uganda has a right to choose their friends and enemies and that no single state has the full to dictate which state should be their friend or enemy.
“We (Uganda) select our friends and enemies. This is so because what may be one’s friend may be the other’s enemy and what may be one’s enemy may be another’s friend. So we shall continue to enjoy the cooperation between Uganda and North Korea and no one can influence us to do otherwise,” Oryem said.
“Having a good relationship with North Korea does not in any way breach the contract with the UN. We have had a unique friendship with South Korea, Cuba and Iran among others, how come the UN has not stopped us?”
Meanwhile, Kyong blamed the U.S for creating endless tension in the Korea Peninsula, thus prompting them to manufacture nuclear weapons for self-defence in case of any attack from the U.S.
“It is a big shame that U.S, the most superpower continues to attack a small country like North Korea. They (U.S) have refused to withdraw from the peninsula and continue to conduct military exercise with South Korea every year. That is the reason we will never give up manufacturing nucleus weapons despite the hostile UN sanctions,” He added.
“If there is a looming threat and I have a dagger I will not keep it under my armpits, but I will instead hold it firmly to defend myself in case I am attacked.”
The U.S has blamed DPRK of neglecting the livelihood of its occupants and spending resources on sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. Kyong on the other hand insists that the tension created by the U.S is pushing DPRK to arm herself with powerful weapons including nuclear weapons.
“My country is neither rich nor poor but strong enough. They are employed; they get free education, health and housing. So people in DPRK will do anything to protect their living right and sovereignty,” Myong said.
“Therefore, we do not care about the sanctions which are illegal after all our country is economically, politically and militarily stable to defend itself in case of any attack.”