KL rejects 'insinuation' it violated UN bans

A general view of the building housing Glocom's offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb 7, 2017.
A general view of the building housing Glocom's offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb 7, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia yesterday rejected any suggestion it may have violated sanctions imposed by the United Nations on North Korea, after a Reuters report said North Korea-linked companies were running an arms network in the country.

Malaysia has for years been one of the few countries in the world to have strong ties with North Korea. But their relationship has been damaged by the killing of the half brother of the North Korean leader at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

Reuters reported on Monday that North Korean intelligence agents used front companies to run an arms sales operation out of Malaysia under a brand called Glocom.

Malaysia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday rejecting any violation of UN sanctions. "Malaysia categorically rejects any such insinuation," it said.

Glocom, which was linked in website registration data to two Malaysian companies controlled by North Korean shareholders and directors, sells battlefield radio equipment in violation of UN sanctions, according to a UN report submitted to the Security Council and seen by Reuters.

Glocom is controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean intelligence agency tasked with overseas operations and weapons procurement, the UN report said, citing undisclosed information.

Reuters found that Glocom advertises more than 30 radio systems for "military and paramilitary" organisations on its Malaysian website, glocom.com.my.

The Foreign Ministry said Malaysia highly valued the work carried out by the UN Security Council Panel of Experts by ensuring the full implementation of all relevant resolutions.

The ministry, which did not name Glocom in its statement, said Malaysia had provided required responses to queries raised by the panel and will fully cooperate.

The UN panel said in its unreleased report that it had asked the Malaysian government if it would expel Glocom's North Korean representative in the country and freeze the assets of the two Malaysian companies to comply with the UN sanctions.

The UN did not say when it made the request.

"The panel has yet to receive an answer," said the UN report, which is due to be released later this month.

UN resolution 1874, adopted in 2009, expanded the arms embargo against North Korea to include military equipment and all "related materiel".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'KL rejects 'insinuation' it violated UN bans'. Print Edition | Subscribe