The regime of President Omar Al Bashir purchases heavy weaponry from North Korea to wage war on its own people, while individuals within his regime personally profit off the deals, an op-ed in Fox News said on July 7.
The article, written by the Enough Project, the Sentry's Managing Director, and a Fox News editor, points to the 2006 UN Security Council Resolution 1718 which prohibits the trade of weapons between North Korea and any UN member state.
In August 2013 however, Pyongyang supplied 100 precision-guided rocket control sections and 80 air attack satellite-guided missiles to Sudan, under two contracts worth over $6.4 million.
Weapons sales are beneficial for both sides, particularly in kleptocracies such as Sudan and North Korea, the writers state.
Military sales often involve the transfer of millions of dollars in cash, which are susceptible to easy embezzlement by underpaid public officials involved in the transactions. A North Korean ambassador who defected stated that “all the North Korean diplomats based overseas make extra income using all means possible”.
The same is true on the Sudanese side. According to the GAN Business Anti-Corruption Portal, Sudanese government officials are “frequently involved in corrupt practices with impunity.”
The authors of the op-ed expect Sudan to continue “its secretive transactions with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weapons dealers” because of “one clear incentive: greed”.
According to the 2017 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, both North Korea and Sudan ranked among the 10 most corrupt countries in the world.
If North Korea and Sudan terminated their ongoing weapons deals they would remove a major stumbling block in their efforts to potentially normalize relations with Washington and attract international investment for their respective failing economies, the writers pose.
Yet, even if Sudan’s military purchases from North Korea were to end, Washington should continue to hold Sudan accountable for its malign behaviour and keep the nation listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, because the Khartoum regime destroys churches and persecutes the country’s Christian minority, they say. “As Secretary Pompeo and other Trump administration officials work to hammer out a long-term agreement with North Korea, they should include measures to stop the North from proliferating weapons and nuclear technology to corrupt rogue regimes in Sudan and elsewhere.”
Military ties cut
Earlier this month, Sudan announced it cut all military ties with Pyongyang.
On the eve of a visit by a UN panel of experts to Khartoum, to monitor compliance with sanctions on North Korea, Khartoum reaffirmed its commitment to all UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.
In a statement on July 4, the spokesman for the Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserted that “the Sudan defence industry system has abolished all the contracts that it has signed with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and ended any relations with it, whether directly or through a third party.”