New Zealand aircraft maker pleads guilty to breaching UN sanctions on North Korea

A UN report said that Pacific Aerospace had delivered a 10-seater aircraft  to its joint venture partner in China and it had later been sold to another Chinese firm before ending up in North Korea in Dec 2015.
A UN report said that Pacific Aerospace had delivered a 10-seater aircraft to its joint venture partner in China and it had later been sold to another Chinese firm before ending up in North Korea in Dec 2015.PHOTO: PACIFIC AEROSPACE

WELLINGTON (REUTERS) - New Zealand aircraft manufacturer Pacific Aerospace has pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court to indirectly exporting aircraft parts to North Korea, according to Fairfax Media.

New Zealand Customs charged the Hamilton-based manufacturer earlier this year with unlawfully sending aircraft parts to North Korea, in breach of 2006 United Nations sanctions.

Pacific Aerospace and New Zealand Customs did not immediately respond to request for comment.

A UN Security Council report in February said it had investigated a 10-seater aircraft manufactured by Pacific Aerospace that had been flown at North Korea's Wonsan Air Festival in September 2016.

The New Zealand firm had delivered the plane to its joint venture partner in China and it had later been sold to another Chinese firm before ending up in North Korea in December 2015.

The UN report included e-mail messages from Pacific Aerospace to the China firm indicating it was aware one of its planes was in North Korea and offering to provide training and "necessary tools" to replace some parts.

New Zealand's Manukau District Court will sentence Pacific Aerospace in January, Fairfax reported.

New Zealand Customs said in August the maximum penalty is 12 months' imprisonment for an individual and a fine of up to NZ$100,000 (S$96,178) for a company.

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted nine sanctions resolutions on North Korea since 2006 in response to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile testing programmes.