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UNSC Experts Clarify NK News Broadcast on North Korean Spy Business Operations in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia has issued a statement from UN Security Council (UNSC) experts on the broadcast of an NK News article, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, which claimed that "North Korean spies ran hotels, casinos and travel agencies in Cambodia,” according to a draft UN expert report.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, the UNSC has expressed frustration over the leaking of the panel's final report to the press without permission. Such reports remain confidential during the draft stages, as they would still be under review by member states of the 1718 Committee. The report in question is being formally submitted to the Security Council next weekend.

The UNSC have said, "No one on the commission has spoken to the media about the content of our latest report, nor have we shared any part of this report with the media.” They further added, "We will not make public any part of our draft report until it has been approved by the UN Security Council."

The UNSC has clarified that the content of the report regarding Cambodia informing the Commission about Kim Chul Sok, a North Korean spy, and his activities, as well as the investigations and measures that Cambodia had implemented, was clear and correct.

In the statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated 17 February, the Ministry’s spokesperson confirmed that Cambodia has complied with the UN resolution since 2018 and closed all businesses and bank accounts associated with North Korea.

The statement said, “On March 1, 2018, the Royal Government of Cambodia established an Inter-Ministerial Working Group to review all documents and investigations into companies and businesses of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) bank accounts. […] The Inter-Ministerial Working Group has held at least nine meetings, co-chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Commerce, to decide on practical measures to implement the various types of sanctions, as stated in the UNSC decision. As a result, seven bank accounts in two different financial institutions have been closed since 2017. […] Cambodia has closed all the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) bank accounts businesses, including restaurants and museums operating in Cambodia."

In 2019, the Ministry of Commerce also removed the name Glory Worldwide Glow Co. Ltd., a company which belonged to a North Korean bank, and 12 other companies listed on its system, including Mansudae New Tech Corporation Ltd., which were found to be associated with North Korean bank accounts.

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