North Korea – Drinking in the Last Chance Saloon: a State “without parallel”; Interview on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Programme; Question in Parliament on April 27


Lord Alton discuss North Korea on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08nf4dw/victoria-derbyshire-26042017 – scroll forward to 1h25m.

North Korea
27 April 2017

Question
 11.29 am
 

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evaluation they have made of the risks to world peace posed by the situation in North Korea.

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper. In doing so, I should mention that I co-chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con)

My Lords, we have made it clear that North Korea must stop its destabilising behaviour. Its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes are a violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and a threat to regional and international security. We fully support action at the United Nations Security Council to counter this threat and maintain pressure on the regime. The Foreign Secretary will shortly be discussing North Korea’s illegal activity at the Security Council.

Lord Alton of Liverpool

My Lords, yesterday’s presidential invitation to the White House of all 100 Members of the United States Senate for a briefing on the unfolding and dangerous crisis on the Korean peninsula underscores its gravity, as does the recollection that the last Korean war cost nearly 3 million lives, including those of 1,000 British servicemen. With one-quarter of North Korea’s gross domestic product used on armaments and over 1 million men under arms, how are we using our own diplomatic presence in Pyongyang and Beijing and at the Security Council to engage China, to avert North Korea’s present and long-term threat, and to forestall a catastrophic outcome? Closer to home, why was the Korea National Insurance Corporation able to use London—an issue that I raised with the Government last January—to generate over £113 million to support both the regime and its nuclear weapons programme?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

I will turn to the specific point before I answer the more general and important point that the noble Lord first made: the EU designated the London office of the Korea National Insurance Corporation on 28 April 2016. Since that date the UK has taken the appropriate actions to sanction the firm and has absolutely followed that through; we take sanctions policy extremely seriously, which is why we issued a White Paper on sanctions just last week. On the general point, we have worked and will continue to work not only through our critical engagement with the North Korean Government in Pyongyang through our embassy there but also at the United Nations, because it is only by work with the United Nations Security Council co-operating and with China exerting influence that there can be any change to North Korean behaviour.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Con)

My Lords, I reinforce the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, that the key to this incredibly dangerous situation is the full engagement and support of the Chinese Government and the sharing of their concerns with ours and those of the rest of the world. Is it not possible that HMG might be able to play a particularly useful intermediary role in this area?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

As always, my noble friend makes a most important point. I can give him an assurance that the Foreign Secretary is meeting the Chinese representatives when he travels later today to New York. He has already had very fruitful discussions with China. It is notable that the whole of the United Nations Security Council, including China, agreed that sanctions should be exerted on the DPRK, and China has shown good faith in that this year in its sanctions on coal.

Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke (Lab)

My Lords –

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem (LD)

My Lords—

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) (Con)

My Lords, with brief questions we can hear from the Liberal Democrats and then the Labour Benches.

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem

My Lords, what is the response of Her Majesty’s Government to the opinion expressed today by Mr Paul Wolfowitz, who was a member of the Administration of George W Bush and is no shrinking violet in these matters, that the solution to the crisis with North Korea will not rest in military action, not least because of the dangers that that would present to the citizens of South Korea?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made it clear that he sees military action as undesirable. We, along with our allies in America, have not taken offensive action. It is of course North Korea that has been offensive in its actions. Clearly the position of Seoul on the border means that any military action would be absolutely disastrous. That is why we are all working together as allies in the United Nations to ensure that there are stronger sanctions and, in particular, that there is a stronger will on the part of China to exert its influence on North Korea, to avoid an escalation of what we have seen over the last few weeks.

Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke

My Lords, given the uncertainty that exists about North Korea, not least after President Trump’s discussions yesterday with the Senate, if there is the possibility of military engagement by the United States against North Korea, would there be a situation similar to what the Foreign Secretary suggested this morning in relation to Syria, which would engage British troops? If that is the case, what attempts will be made to consult Parliament, given that the elected House will cease to exist in a very few hours’ time?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, it is a straightforward fact that the United States has made it clear that it is not seeking military action. It is installing a defensive missile system and working with allies in the area such as South Korea. What came across very strongly in the announcement by the Secretary of State in America yesterday is that the United States is seeking a peaceful resolution. It made it clear that it wants to bring North Korea to its senses, not to its knees.

Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab)

I welcome the Minister’s response about the Security Council, but will she reassure us that when the Foreign Secretary is in New York, he will be in communication with his counterpart in the United States to ensure that these two great allies act in concert to ensure effective sanctions?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

Yes, my Lords: in New York but also on a more regular basis.

============================================================================

 

NORTH Korea – Drinking in the Last Chance Saloon.

north korea map 2

At the Tumen River border with North Korea in North East China, September 2012, where border guards shoot North Koreans trying to leave their country

At the Tumen River border with North Korea in North East China, September 2012, where border guards shoot North Koreans trying to leave their country

In 2012 President Obama warned Syria that if it used chemical weapons it would lead to a military response from the United States. In August 2013, as more than 1,400 civilians were killed in a sarin gas attack near Damascus, the famous “red line” was crossed and along with civilian deaths American credibility was dealt an equally lethal blow. In international diplomacy the most dangerous thing you can do is to make meaningless assertions and not to see them through.

Any parent or school teacher will tell you that a child needs to have certainty about parameters of acceptable behaviour – and know that when a line is crossed it will carry consequences. Uncertainty and unwillingness to see through endless threats or chastisement only result is worsening behaviour and the desire to see how far the red line can be pushed back.

Winston Churchill went further. He said that if you make the mistake of trying to pacify or placate a tyrant the tyrant will eventually come after you: His definition of an appeaser was “one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”  

But it was Churchill who also said that “To jawjaw is always better than to warwar and he argued that “The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”

That is certainly the case with North Korea.

Starting wars is far easier than ending them or in predicting the law of unintended consequences. Yet, the United States is once again staring at another red line, and at a State which believes it can terrorise its neighbours as well as its own people.

While President Obama insisted on a policy of “strategic patience” – which amounted to doing nothing and hoping for the best – North Korea has been developing a nuclear capability, seeking to miniaturise weapons and to use submarines to threaten American cities and democratic societies.

By doing nothing, the Obama Administration allowed the situation to fester.

A Second Term Obama might have unilaterally ended the continuing state of war with North Korea – a war which between 1950 and 1953 led to the deaths of around 3 million people. It might have opened the way to change – it might not, but now we will never know. Doing nothing rarely achieves anything.

Under Kim Jong-Un North Korea has been drinking in the Last Chance Saloon.   

He runs a State which the United Nations says has human rights violations that are “without parallel”.  He has intensified his goading and his blackmail and believes he can act with impunity.  

The United States knows that if it does not take decisive action now then it will never be able to do so. The crocodile will be waiting for them.

No doubt the decision to drop an 11-ton bomb on eastern Afghanistan was not only designed to attack ISIS in their underground dug-outs but to demonstrate to North korea that their underground nuclear facilities and command centres hidden deep inside mountains ar not impervious to US fire power. 

War fever is gripping the region and probably only China can now help avert a catastrophic war.    

Also see “A State without Parallel”:

https://davidalton.net/2017/03/11/calls-made-in-geneva-to-hold-north-korean-regime-to-account-for-crimes-against-humanity/

Some Recent Questions In Parliament:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6576):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of reports of human rights violations committed by the government of North Korea against its exiled citizens, and of some exiled North Koreans having become UK citizens, what is their response to the recommendation by the UNHCR group of independent experts on accountability in their report to the 34th session published on 24 February that UN Member States “enact legislation with extraterritorial effect for gross violations of human rights and, for those States that recognize the principle of universal jurisdiction, consider how they can contribute to securing accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”; and whether they intend to enact such legislation. (HL6576)

Tabled on: 04 April 2017

Answer:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

We welcome the UN Group of Independent Experts Report which is an important milestone in the process of developing a viable framework for accountability for those who commit human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). At the UN Human Rights Council in March, the UK strongly supported a new resolution on DPRK human rights which drew on the recommendations in the report. The adoption of the resolution demonstrated that there is broad consensus among the international community on strengthening the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Seoul. This provides OHCHR with additional resources to gather and evaluate evidence and consult legal professionals about how this evidence could be used in any future internationally agreed framework for accountability. Legislation already exists in the UK which covers extraterritoriality. War crimes under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, and a small number of other grave offences, including torture, are already subject to universal jurisdiction.

Date and time of answer: 19 Apr 2017 at 16:33.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6577):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware of (1) members of Chongryon, formerly known as the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, entering or doing business in the United Kingdom, and (2) whether Chongryon members have had any interactions with diplomats from the DPRK Embassy in London, in the last five years. (HL6577)

Tabled on: 04 April 2017

Answer:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not monitor the day to day activities of diplomatic missions in London nor do we have records of meetings and engagements arranged by those missions.

Date and time of answer: 19 Apr 2017 at 16:05.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking, including through the British Embassy in Pyongyang, to ensure that the government of North Korea does not breach the Vienna Convention; and what advice they are offering to British nationals in, and travelling to, North Korea regarding their safety, in the light of the temporary ban imposed on Malaysian diplomats from leaving the country.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We expect any State who has signed and ratified the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to abide by its provisions.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office keeps travel advice under constant review and updates country specific advice if we are aware of an incident that might significantly affect British nationals travelling to that country. The purpose of our travel advice is to provide objective information and guidance to help British nationals make informed decisions regarding foreign travel. As our travel advice for the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) states, we do not assess that the temporary restriction on Malaysian diplomats leaving the DPRK will affect the safety of British nationals travelling to DPRK.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 5 November 2015 (HL 2969) which stated that “the DPRK is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since 1987″, whether they classify as the sponsoring of terrorist acts (1) the plot by a North Korean defector to kill Park Sang-hak in 2012, (2) the plot by two North Korean military officers to kill Hwang Jang-yop in 2010, and (3) the claims made by Won Jeong-hwa that she had been given orders by North Korea to assassinate two South Korean army intelligence officers with poison; and if not, why not.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We are aware of reports which allege the involvement of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) government in these unlawful events in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the actions taken by the ROK authorities in response to these incidents. Whether or not they amount to acts of terrorism under our domestic legal definition would be a matter for the investigating authorities to establish. We continue to have significant ongoing concerns regarding the DPRK’s flagrant disregard for international norms and standards. We regularly raise these issues directly with the DPRK government.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 3 November 2015 (HL2960), what assessment they have made of the terror threat to UK nationals, including those who are NorthKorean refugees and human rights workers in North Korea, from the government of North Korea and its diplomatic personnel.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

Any credible threats against British nationals would be fully investigated by the relevant authorities.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that North Korea has issued orders to assassinate a British businessman who helped to facilitate the defection of North Korea’s then deputy ambassador to London.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

Any credible threat to the safety of a British national or a resident of the UK is matter for the relevant police authority to investigate.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to introduce human rights sanctions against North Korea, in line with those imposed by the United States.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

As I set out in written question HL2194, we will always carefully consider the impact and benefits of sanctions measures before they are imposed. These considerations include our ability to defend the legality of the sanctions should they be challenged under EU law and the likelihood of achieving our objectives of stability on the Korean peninsula and improved human rights for NorthKoreans.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the remarks by David Slinn, the former UK Ambassador to North Korea on 24 January, concerning the difficulties of negotiating with Kim Jong-un.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We remain open to dialogue with the government of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the issue of denuclearisation. However, the DPRK regime must give the international community a credible signal that it is prepared to discuss our significant concerns about their nuclear and ballistic missile programme. This includes respecting UN Security Council Resolutions and international law.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have discussed with the European Union and individual EU member states (1) the use of North Korean labour, (2) the use of European bank accounts by North Korean nationals in the EU, and (3) a united response to the report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea; and if so, when those discussions last took place.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We are engaged in a dialogue with European partners about strengthening EU measures towards the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2321, including the issue of North Korean labourers and the use of European bank accounts by NorthKorean nationals. We are committed to ensuring that sanctions measures are robust and effective at limiting the DPRK’s ability to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

The UK holds regular discussion with EU partners on DPRK human rights, including how best to take forward the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry report. We are currently working with EU partners at the UN Human Rights Council to achieve a strong resolution on DPRK human rights which draws on the conclusions of the recent Group of Independent Experts report on accountability.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 28 February (HL Deb, col 714), whether at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council they will support recommendations (1) to establish an ad hoc tribunal, or (2) to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The UK welcomes the recent UN Group of Independent Experts report on accountability for those who commit human rights violations in the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK). We support further work on their recommendations by the Special Rapporteur on DPRK Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure the most effective framework for accountability can be established.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench  2:58 pm, 28th February 2017

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the sanctions imposed by China against North Korea following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam and the recent ballistic missile test, whether they will call in the North Korean Ambassador.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper. In so doing, I should mention that I am co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, on 14 February we summoned the ambassador for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in response to its ballistic missile test on 11 February. We made it clear that such actions were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a threat to international security, and that such destabilising activity must stop. We continue to be deeply concerned by its actions, including reports that it is responsible for the killing of Kim Jong-nam.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

My Lords, does not the horrific use of VX, a toxic nerve agent, to assassinate Kim Jong-nam serve to remind us of North Korea’s total disregard for international law, whether through the use of banned chemical weapons, of which it has some 5,000 tonnes, its nuclear and missile test, or the execution and incarceration of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens? Has the noble Baroness noted that at the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is currently meeting in Geneva, there are recommendations to establish an ad hoc tribunal or to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court? Will we be endorsing this and seeking China’s support to bring to justice those responsible for these egregious and systemic violations of human rights?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The noble Lord is right in his condemnation of the DPRK’s complete disregard for international norms. Dealing with those is a difficult matter. We certainly support the UN Commission of Inquiry and want to see how we can take forward its recommendations.

With regard to the alleged use of VX, Malaysia has gathered its own information. We have no reason to doubt its conclusions that it is VX, a highly toxic nerve agent, and that the DPRK is responsible, since it has the capacity to produce it. Until there is an international awareness of that information, we cannot take action internationally to condemn what has happened and provide the evidential link between the DPRK and the murder of Kim Jong-nam.

Lord Robathan Conservative

My Lords, there was a very similar assassination on British soil not a mile from here—that of Alexander Litvinenko—by the Russian Secret Service. Can my noble friend please tell us when she last called in the Russian ambassador, and what progress has been made on that inquiry?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, I cannot recall the exact date because, of course, I do not call in the Russian ambassador. But I can reassure my noble friend that I am aware that the Russian ambassador has been called in on at least one occasion last year with regard to Russia’s disregard for international norms. Whatever country uses international murder to dispose of people who are inconvenient to it is wrong and should face international opprobrium.

Lord Anderson of Swansea Labour

My Lords, China is the key player in relation to North Korea, and its action appears to complete the isolation of that country. How do the Government interpret its sanctions? Are they temporary, or can we expect a sea change in China’s policy?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The noble Lord is right to point to the fact that China has now made it clear that it is compliant with the UN Security Council resolution on sanctions on the coal trade between the DPRK and China. On 18 February this year, China declared that it would be fully compliant. It had actually been in breach in December, so it has made sure that throughout the whole of this year it will now be compliant. We welcome that public declaration and look forward to receiving further details about how it is observed. It was an important step forward.

The Bishop of Peterborough Bishop

My Lords, I have a particular interest in those who escaped from North Korea, both through my membership of the all-party group and the link that we have in the diocese of Peterborough with the diocese of Seoul in South Korea, which does a lot to support escapees. Can the Minister please tell us whether our Government are talking to the Government of China about their apparent policy of sending refugees straight back to North Korea, where they face execution or incarceration in camps, and whether we will ask China to allow people freedom of passage to those countries which welcome them?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The right reverend Prelate raises an important issue on which we are at variance with the Chinese. They believe that those who flee the DPRK to save their own lives are in fact economic migrants and are therefore subject to return. I can assure the right reverend Prelate that we did indeed raise the issue of forced repatriation of refugees on numerous occasions with China, most recently at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in October, and we will continue to do so, including in international fora. We have also discussed the UN Commission of Inquiry report with senior Chinese officials in Beijing. It is important that we keep up pressure on this matter.

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat

The imposition of sanctions is all the more significant having regard to the previous ambivalence of the Chinese Government towards North Korea. Should not these sanctions be warmly welcomed, not only here but in the White House, so that, whatever their differences, China and the United States can make common cause in the containment of North Korea?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The noble Lord is absolutely right. As the new Trump Administration have taken office, it is important that they and China find accord on this matter.

Baroness Cox Crossbench

My Lords, what is Her Majesty’s Government’s assessment of the security of North Korean defectors here in the United Kingdom and the potential security threat of the North Korean embassy in this country?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, it is a matter of fact that we have, of course, concern for all those who are in this country, whatever their nationality. We have a duty of protection in general terms. We do not provide individual protection for those who are not British citizens, as such, but we are aware that some persons are at particular risk. Because of security matters and the safety of those individuals, it would be wrong of me to go further than that.

Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry report which urged all democratic countries to help break the information blockade that engulfs North Korea. The All-Party Parliamentary Group has organised a successful campaign to persuade the BBC World Service to broadcast to North Korea. Is the Minister able to tell your Lordships’ House when those broadcasts will begin?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, I am not at present able to do so, but we strongly support the BBC’s mission to bring high-quality impartial news on this matter, including, of course, providing information about DPRK. I will see whether the BBC has come forward with any further information that I have not heard about recently.

Lord Elton Conservative

My Lords, does my noble friend have any information about the number of Christians who are now incarcerated in North Korea for the sake of their religion? It is one of the countries where they are most harassed and oppressed.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My noble friend is right to raise the plight of Christians in North Korea. Although the constitution in DPRK provides the right to have freedom to believe, those who practise religion outside very closely state-controlled faiths find themselves subject to appalling persecution. It is matter that we raise frequently with the North Korean Government through our embassy in Pyongyang, the United Nations and the Human Rights Council. But it is a continuing, appalling, flagrant breach of international norms.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any children born to one NorthKorean parent in China, who have not acquired citizenship of either the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, or the People’s Republic of China, have claimed asylum in the United Kingdom; and if so, whether they have been granted refugee status.

Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

Information on claims and decisions is published as part of the Government’s Immigration Statistics quarterly release.

The relevant data tables can be found in tabs AS_01 and AS_01_q at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/572374/asylum1-q3-2016-tables.ods

The tables are also attached to this answer.

Data Tables (Excel SpreadSheet, 3.06 MB)

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals born in North Koreawho have sought asylum in the United Kingdom have been deported since the United Kingdom–Republic of Korea Readmission Agreement came into force.

Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

Information on removals is published as part of the Government’s Immigration Statistics quarterly release.

These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/572383/returns5-q3-2016-tables.ods

The table is also attached to this answer.

Asylum Data Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 3.49 MB

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 19 December, whether any UK funds or UK nationals provide specialised teaching and training of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea nationals in business and economic management entrepreneurship; and if so, what assessment they have made of the impact of such training on North Korea’s economy and, in particular, that country’s acquisition of illicit goods.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The UK, through our Embassy in Pyongyang, funded business and economic training in the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) between 2013-2015, delivered by an international Non-Governmental Organisation. This training focused on providing ordinary North Koreans with the skills needed to run their own small businesses and to expose them to internationally accepted practices in economics and trade. These projects have been fully audited to ensure they meet the criteria for Foreign and Commonwealth Office funding. We are not aware of any UK funding or UK nationals providing teaching and training which could contribute to the DPRK’s acquisition of illicit goods. The UK is not currently funding any such training activities.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the role of Iran and North Korea in the building of factories for the production of munitions and weapons in Sudan.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We are aware of claims that these countries may have previously cooperated with Sudan in the manufacture and trade of weapons. We continue to fully support the EU arms embargo on Sudan as well as the UN arms embargo specifically on Darfur.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the government of North Korea, or any of its state-owned companies, has access to the London Stock Exchange or holds financial interests in the UK.

Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

As part of UN and EU sanctions, banks are required to close existing branches, subsidiaries or accounts in North Korea where it has been determined that they contribute to North Korea’s ballistic missile programmes. The sanctions also prohibit any commercial activity by the Government of North Korea (including legal persons, entities or bodies owned or controlled by them).

Assets owned or controlled in the EU by designated DPRK persons, entities or bodies, including government bodies, are subject to an asset freeze and cannot be traded on the London Stock Exchange. A list of designations which has been placed in the Library includes a number of DPRK government and state-owned bodies. HM Treasury implements these financial sanctions in the UK. Non-compliance with financial sanctions is a criminal offence and HM Treasury works closely with law enforcement to ensure sanctions breaches are dealt with appropriately. For reasons of confidentiality, the Treasury does not make public the details of individual reports of frozen assets.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the number of companies owned by UK nationals or headquartered in the UK which conduct business with the government of North Korea or any of its state-owned companies.

Lord Price The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

The Government does not have data on the number of companies owned by UK nationals or headquartered in the UK which conduct business with the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Data on the value of trade between the UK and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). In 2015 the total bilateral trade in goods between the UK and the DPRK was $814,700.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 8 June (HL359) and 16 June (HL388) on the subject of violence against women and girls, whether the British Embassy in Pyongyang or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have raised the issue of rape and sexual violence of women and girls by North Korean public officials with North Korea since June 2016.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We have not raised this specific issue since the previous answers (HL359 and HL388) in June 2016. However, we continue to raise our concerns on human rights directly with the regime of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea(DPRK). Most recently, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office my Honourable Friend the member for Reading West (Mr Sharma), summoned the Ambassador for the DPRK to the Foreign Commonwealth Office, where Mr Sharma made clear our concerns that the regime was prioritising its nuclear and ballistic missile programme ahead of the welfare of its people. In addition, we are currently working with partners at the UN General Assembly Third Committee on a strong resolution to maintain international attention on the human rights situation in the DPRK.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 16 June (HL392), whether the British Embassy in North Korea had presented a copy of the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to North Korean officials by 10 October.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

As stated in answer HL392, the British Embassy in Pyongyang presented the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea(DPRK) with a statement supporting the UN Commission of Inquiry’s (COI) findings from the former Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire). This statement was rejected by the MFA. The DPRK is fully aware of the COI report’s findings, but refuses to substantively engage on human rights issues and regularly denounces the UN COI report as a politically motivated fabrication.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the direct costs of the British Embassy in Pyongyang, broken down into (1) locally employed staff, (2) estate expenditure, (3) security, (4) vehicle costs, (5) travel, (6) subsistence and (7) allowances; and what is the cost of Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded activities broken down by individual projects in North Korea for 2016.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The total budget allocation for the British Embassy in Pyongyang this financial year is £203,627, which is used to cover a variety of costs including the estate, local travel, fuel and vehicle maintenance and local staff wages. For operational and security reasons we do not disclose the precise breakdown of the costs of maintaining certain posts. The bilateral programme fund budget for the British Embassy Pyongyang this financial year is approximately £235,000, which includes £200,000 for the British Council English Language Programme, £9,456 for a project to support disabled people in South Hamgyong and North Pyongan province, and £16,691 to provide a secure supply of drinking water to a remote North Korean community.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the effect of the United States’ North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 757) on UK-owned businesses and UK nationals which conduct business with the government of North Korea or its state-owned companies.

Lord Price The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

The Government has made no such assessment.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they ensure that funds spent by the British Embassy in Pyongyang or funds dispersed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for North Korea activities are not diverted by the government of North Korea for use in its nuclear programme or human rights abuses.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) projects in the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are usually delivered through international Non-Governmental Organisations who operate in-country and are aimed at assisting some of the most vulnerable groups in North Korean society. Before selecting an implementing partner relevant due diligence checks are carried out which include, but are not limited to, obtaining assurances about: training provided to staff in relation to reporting bribery and corruption; how those concerns are shared with donors; and what policies, principles and procedures the organisation has in place to regulate its own conduct.

In line with standard FCO project requirements detailed budgets are required for all projects and these are carefully checked to ensure both in-country and other costs are reasonable. Project implementers are required to provide financial reports and originals or copies of all invoices and receipts, as well as a Project Completion Report containing a detailed breakdown of all expenditure during the project period. The final payment on any project is only released after submission of a satisfactory Project Completion Report.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) about reports that uranium from the DRC has been sold to North Korea.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

As the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), set out in his Written Ministerial Statement of 8 March, which I repeated in the House of Lords the same day [HLWS571], the Government remains deeply concerned by North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and its sustained prioritisation of these programmes over the well-being of its own people. All states are obliged to abide by UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting uranium transfers to North Korea. We would take any credible reports of such transfers from anywhere in the world very seriously. We have not engaged with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on this issue.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has access to North Korean refugees in China; and what steps they have taken to address the specific matter of China’s responsibilities to aid North Korean refugees fleeing North Korea.

Baroness VermaThe Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees does not have access to the North Koreans at the border area in China.

We raise our concerns around refoulement – the forcible return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution – regularly through our Embassy in Beijing and at the annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of North Korea on reports of widespread rape committed by its military; and whether the UK defence attaché to North Korea will raise this issue with their counterpart.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We are aware of the disturbing reports of sexual violence within the Korean People’s Army. We consistently raise our concerns about the appalling human rights situation in the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) directly with the regime. In June, our Ambassador to North Korea made clear the UK’s position on human rights in a speech in Pyongyang attended by DPRK senior officials. We regularly raise North Korean human rights issues in multilateral fora such as the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council, and will continue to do so.

David Alton – Lord Alton of Liverpool – is co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary group on North Korea.