SINGAPORE: The Government is "closely studying" a United Nations report linking a Singapore-based company to a North Korean firm involved in arms sales, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Thursday (Mar 9).
In a statement, MFA said the Government will "take the necessary steps to ensure that Singapore is in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on the DPRK".
A UN report sent to the Security Council identified military equipment company Glocom as a front company run by North Korean agents that sells battlefield radio equipment, in violation of UN sanctions.
Glocom is operated by the Pyongyang branch of a Singapore-based company called Pan Systems, said the UN report.
MFA said that Singapore takes its obligations under the UNSCRs seriously and will implement them fully.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works closely with the relevant agencies through the Inter-Ministry Committee on Export Control to implement the UNSCRs," MFA said. "Singapore also maintains a robust export control system that helps to ensure that we comply with UNSCRs."
It added that Singapore had submitted reports detailing its efforts to implement the resolutions.
In a report on the UN website, charge d'affaires Joseph Teo said that the Singapore authorities have "proactively engaged business owners" to remind them of the restrictions imposed on North Korea.
"The Singapore authorities have also reached out to individual businesses involved in trade with entities linked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to advise them to abide by the restrictions," the report said.
"HOW COME WE ARE INVOLVED IN SO MANY THINGS WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW OF?"
Pan Systems Singapore's managing director Louis Low, 79, said he knew about Pan Systems Pyongyang but did not set it up or operate it. In written answers to the UN's questions about its links to North Korea, which were seen by Reuters, he said he did not know about Pan System Pyongyang's alleged involvement in the arms trade.
Glocom’s website, which was taken down late last year, listed an address in Kuala Lumpur's Little India in its contacts section.
Low told Reuters last week he had not been approached by Singapore authorities about the report.
"How come we are involved in so many things which we do not even know or hear of? Your assumptions are wrong. It is not true. Pan Systems Pyongyang is not a branch of Pan Systems (S) Pte Ltd," Low wrote to the UN sanctions panel.
The UN report, citing undisclosed information it obtained, said Pan Systems Pyongyang and Glocom were controlled by members of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean intelligence agency tasked with overseas operations and weapons procurement.
"This shows how the bureau enables its key agents to generate revenues for its operations through such networks," the report said.
Pan Systems Pyongyang had a network of bank accounts, front companies and agents, mostly located in China and Malaysia, to procure components and sell completed systems, the report said.
Pan Systems Pyongyang used Malaysia as a base for its key representative abroad and for the companies that have acted on its behalf, the report said. Low told the UN and Reuters that he did not know about the existence of a Pan Systems branch in Malaysia.
A joint venture he had in Malaysia went bankrupt 25 years ago and he has not had an office there since then, Low told Reuters.
Malaysian-North Korean ties have soured after the killing of Kim Jong-un's estranged half-brother at the Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb 13.