Trump renews N Korea blacklisting over human trafficking

01-Dec-2018 Intellasia | NK News | 6:14 AM Print This Post

Restrictions reapplied following lack of compliance to Trafficking Victims Protection Act

US President Donald Trump on Thursday reapplied a Presidential Determination that prevents the US from providing nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related assistance to North Korea and which will last for the 2019 financial year.

The Presidential Determination with “Respect to the Efforts of Foreign governments Regarding Trafficking in Persons” has been reimposed on North Korea pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The memorandum is specifically directed at the US Secretary of State.

The determination means the U.S will not provide “nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related assistance to, or allow funding for participation in educational and cultural exchange programmes by officials or employees of, the government” of North Korea among other states.

The determination also instructs each US Executive director at multilateral development banks “to vote against and use best efforts to deny all loans to, and all other uses of those institutions’ funds that benefit, the government” of the DPRK among others.

There is an exception, however, if such loans are used for “humanitarian assistance, trade-related assistance, and development assistance that directly addresses basic human needs” and “is not administered by the government of such country, and confers no benefit to such a government”.

These restrictions are set in place until North Korea is able to comply with minimum standards of, or “make significant efforts” to comply with the Act.

Earlier this year, the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report named the DPRK as one of the world’s worst human trafficking nations for the 16th year in a row. North Korea responded in part via state media with an editorial condemning the Trump administration.

The article, which was published on July 6, broke an extended period of silence by North Korea regarding criticism of its human rights record in the aftermath of the June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

As in July, North Korea is unlikely to react positively to Thursday’s decision and has already lashed out over the prospects of the UN Security Council discussing the country’s human rights record this year.

Given the existing sanctions regime and the low probability that the US is willing to provide funding to the DPRK in 2019, the memorandum may be seen as largely symbolic.

However, in contrast to 2017, North Korea has this year embarked on a sustained path of significant diplomacy that has seen several summits and the resumption of denuclearisation negotiations.

In this context of diplomatic engagement, South Korea President Moon Jae-in claimed in September that North Korea wanted to join international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank (WB).

“I think international funds supporting North Korea’s infrastructure will need to be created,” Moon said.

“Other international agencies including the WB, the World Economic Forum, and the Asian Development Bank should aid North Korea,” he added. Moon also said that Pyongyang was willing to accept support from international organisations, including the IMF.

Thursday’s Presidential Memorandum ensures that, at least without a change in behavior from the DPRK on human trafficking, the US will not back any loans from such institutions in 2019.


Category: Korea

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