North Korea says unable to pay UN dues, blames sanctions

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea is unable to pay its share of the 2018 UN budgets because of international sanctions on its foreign exchange bank and has asked a senior UN official for help, the country’s UN mission said in a statement.

North Korea’s UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam met with UN management chief Jan Beagle on Friday to ask the world body to help secure a bank transaction channel so Pyongyang could pay the nearly $184,000 it says it owes for 2018.

UN member states are required to pay assessed contributions to the world body’s regular and peacekeeping budgets, as well as a budget for international tribunals.

US and UN sanctions on the Foreign Trade Bank, North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, were preventing the country ”from honoring its obligation as a UN member state by hindering even normal activities such as payment of the UN contribution,” the North Korean mission said in a statement late on Friday.

”It also shows how cruel and uncivilised the sanctions are,” it said.

If it is unable to make payment “it is crystal clear” the blame lies with the United States and “its followers,” the statement said.

The United States sanctioned the Foreign Trade Bank in 2013, while the UN Security Council blacklisted the bank last August.

The 15-member UN Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

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