Despite the strict United Nations against North Korea, China has continued to secretly and flout these sanctions in Africa and around the globe.
The recent example of the violation in Africa came last week when North Korean labourers were arrested in Mauritius disguised as Chinese employees of China Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project spread around the world.
There are reports that some Chinese provinces like Zhijiang and Henan are using state-owned companies to gain entry into Africa and do business which is against the UN sanctions.
It’s not clear if the Chinese construction companies in Uganda are doing the same but cases of China hiring North Korean Laborers have been reported in other African countries like Algeria where ZCIGC has hired 170 North Koreans for different construction projects.
Uganda’s foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Vicente Bagire said Uganda has not had such cases. ” When a country is put under such sanctions, they must be followed,” he said.
Still in Mauritius, a Chinese fishing company was found hiring North Korean sailors after registering them as Chinese nationals. According to media reports on December 6, 2022, Mauritius’ Passport and Immigration Office (PIO) apprehended six North Korean sailors disguised as Chinese nationals on board Vessel Jin Xiang 8.
Mr Wang Wong, captain of the vessel, thought to be Chinese, initially stated that all of the 14 sailors are Chinese nationals before the Mauritian authorities confirmed that six of them are actually North Koreans who were detained in Le Chaland Detention Center two weeks ago.
In Senegal, China Henan, a Chinese state-owned company hired North Korean laborers for Touba’s city modernization project. About 50 North Korean workers in Senegal are currently working at multiple construction sites, such as for hotel construction projects.
The U.S government has offered $5m as a reward for information about violation of sanctions against North Korea.
There are reports that both Chinese private companies and state-run companies have been involved in the illicit act of clandestinely employing North Korean personnel at a low cost, supporting the North’s illegal foreign currency-earning activities.
China has been accused of using North Korea as a buffer zone and playing as a guardian to Pyongyoung even in the midst of nuclear weapons and missile provocation.
During the Covid-19 pandemic in May 2022, China was the only country to provide quarantine supplies to North Korea. It provided 100,000 tons of rice to help the country avoid food shortage.
Despite the sanctions, North Korea has continued to develop its missile and nuclear capability. In 2022, the country launched more than 40 missiles with the capability to strike South Korea and the U.S mainland.
Several attempts to increase sanctions against North Korea have been frustrated by China and Russia which have veto powers on the UN Security Council. Instead, China and Russia submitted a joint resolution seeking to ease sanctions against the North in October 2021.