Page 48 - Australian Defence Magazine - June 2018
P. 48

The venerable Orion AP-3C and new Poseidon P-8A flying in formation, both formidable platforms.
P-8s to keep an eye
on North Korea
Australia has despatched one of the new P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to assist in enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea, apparently routinely evaded through surreptitious transfer of goods on the high seas.
THE long list of UN sanctions against North Korea forbid export of just about everything it produces, from textiles, min- erals, seafood and gold to that big earner, coal briquettes.
Neither can North Koreans work in any foreign country and external financial transactions are severely limited. Imports of oil and gas are almost completely banned. The latest UN Security Council sanctions list released at the end of March goes so far as to proscribe 22 North Korean entities and 27 ships.
You’d have to think they’re really hurting and plenty of people are attributing their
newfound willingness to talk to just how much pain they’re in. It would follow that those most in pain are always the country’s hapless peasantry.
The RAAF Poseidon will operate from Japan, working with Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft to help enforce the sanctions.
“What has been occurring is that sanctions have been evaded by transferring materials from ship to ship so obviously being able to surveil, to add to the surveillance of the area, enables that to be identified and then of course those who are party to that to be held respon- sible and brought to account,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull explained to reporters.
What’s not clear is whether that’s aimed at inward or outward-bound cargoes. It could be a bit of both.
It could also be aimed at illicit North Korean exports. What, you may ask, has North Korea exported that’s not wholly above board? The answer is just about anything illegal you can think of to earn hard currency.
That reportedly includes narcotics and methamphetamine, counterfeit pharma- ceuticals, counterfeit currency especially US dollars, counterfeit cigarettes – North Korean Marlboro has been found in the US – banned wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horn, small arms and munitions, surface-to-air-missiles as well as nuclear and missile technology.
It’s not clear whether some or all illegal trade is government-sanctioned. As well, there’s not always ironclad proof, with some claims emerging from defectors and US offi- cials without much solid evidence. But in some areas, the evidence is strong.
In 2003, Australian Federal Police seized
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