S Korea says gas pipeline project via N Korea violates no UN sanctions

SEOUL, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— A gas pipeline project from Russia via both Koreas does not run counter to U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang, an official from South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Monday in comment of allegations that North Korea might spend gas transit money to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The United Nations imposed sanctions upon North Korea following its subsoil nuclear tests and missile launches in 2006 and 2009. Resolution 1874 of the United Nations Security Council banned arms supplies to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), imposed financial sanctions and called upon all states to inspect all cargo to and from the DPRK, in their territory, including seaports and airports.

A fresh impetus to Russia’s proposal to build a gas pipeline across the entire Korean Peninsula to pump natural gas to the Republic of Korea was given after recent talks between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. The latter gave a positive assessment of the project.

“U.N. sanctions target weapons of mass destruction and as long as there are no direct links between the gas project and such weapons we have no technical possibilities to say that this project violates the U.N. sanctions,” noted the ministry official who spoke on conditions of anonymity.

According to another South Korean diplomat, the U.N. sanctions “are not applicable to either permanent economic exchanges, or humanitarian aid, or any other project that promotes peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

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