The Trump administration is stepping up pressure on countries in the African continent to cut longstanding diplomatic and military ties with Pyongyang to starve the ballistic nuclear missile program by Kim Jong Un of resources. The US government want expatriates and workers from North Korea who are working in African countries expelled and deported on claims that the 13 embassies for African foreign envoys in Pyongyang have been profit-making entities for Kim’s regime.
A statement from Washington says the North Korea which seeks to make ballistic nuclear missiles with the capability to strike American cities is getting foreign currency from the special military and diplomatic relationship with African countries. The foreign money is being used by the repressive regime as oxygen to fuel the nuclear weapons program. The US government also accuses some of the thousands of North Koreans living and working in Africa including envoys of wildlife parts trafficking such as rhino horns and ivory. This smuggling is a natural source of foreign currency for Kim’s regime.
The Trump administration has previously estimated that North Korea earns a minimum of $100 million annually from the supply of small arms, construction contracts, and military training and smuggling from the African continent. The head of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center based in Washington DC, Peter Pham said that although the $100 million may seem like small change to a country like North Korea, it is fairly a significant amount considering the financial crisis that is currently experienced in Pyongyang. The amount may account for between 3 and 45 of the total earnings by North Korea from foreign exchange.
A panel of experts from the United Nations identified 11 African countries in last year September which are suspected to have military ties with the Kim Jong Un’s regime. The states include Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Mali, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Benin and Angola. Some of the African nations like Sudan have responded to the demands by the US government to extract concessions and curry favor. The US government has in the past said that Khartoum is one of the state sponsors of global terrorism. The US eased some of the embargoes it had imposed on Sudan after the country agreed to commit itself to have its efforts with Pyongyang downgraded in October last year. Namibia also took steps to cut off military ties with Pyongyang by demands from the UN and the US.