KAMPALA Uganda hit back Sunday at South Korea’s claim that Kampala had ordered a halt to military ties with North Korea in line with UN sanctions, denying it had made such an announcement.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s spokesman had earlier Sunday told reporters that Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni had ordered officials to honour the latest sanctions during a summit in Kampala.
Spokesman Jung Yeon-Guk quoted Museveni as saying: “We instructed officials to faithfully enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, including the halt of cooperation with North Korea in the security, military and police sectors.”
But Ugandan authorities responded swiftly, saying there had been no “public declaration” to this effect.
“That is not true. It is propaganda,” deputy government spokesman Shaban Bantariza told French news agency AFP.
“Even if (such an order) was to be made by the president, it cannot be public. It cannot be therefore true and it can’t happen. That is international politics at play,” he added.
However, Uganda state run newspaper New Vision reported that the nation had taken a stand decision born out of an earlier presidential directive according to a statement by Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa
“As the president said recently in Cabinet, we are disengaging with on the corporation we have been having with North Koreaas a result of UN Sanctions. Our policy is that we do not support Nuclear proliferation” Kutesa said
Dozens of North Korean military and police officials are believed to be working in Uganda as military trainers under a cooperation programme.
Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, has visited North Korea three times and met Kim Il-Sung, the country’s late founding president and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-Un.
In violation of sanctions
The UN Security Council in March imposed the toughest sanctions to date on Pyongyang following its fourth atomic test in January and a long-range rocket launch a month later.
The rocket launch—widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test—was staged in violation of existing UN resolutions that ban the country from any use of ballistic missile technology.
Kim Jong-Un however remained defiant in the face of growing international pressure, declaring his country a “responsible” nuclear weapons state at a recent meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party.
The young leader also defended North Korea’s widely-condemned nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against “hostile” US policy against his regime.
On her first state visit to Uganda, South Korea’s Park discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties, including offering more aid to Kampala and the offer of running join development projects.
AFP and East Africa daily Reporter