Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni vowed Sunday to cut off his country’s security and military cooperation with North Korea, in the latest increase in international diplomatic pressure exerted on Pyongyang over its nuclear program, a South Korean official said.
North Korea is under the toughest U.N. sanctions ever over its fourth nuclear test and its long-range rocket launch earlier this year.
“I have instructed officials to faithfully enforce the U.N. Security Council resolution, including suspension of cooperation with North Korea in the security, military and police sectors,” Museveni said in a summit with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye, according to South Korean presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk.
Museveni’s pledge illustrates growing international pressure on North Korea over its defiant pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. He also sent a clear message to Pyongyang that Uganda is on the same page with South Korea and the international community, and not siding with North Korea.
Uganda has been maintaining military cooperation with North Korea, and the long-time Ugandan leader has visited Pyongyang three times. Some 50 North Korean military and police personnel are believed to be working in Uganda, according to South Korea.
It remains unclear whether Uganda will deport the North Korean personnel.
Repeated calls to the North Korean embassy in Uganda seeking a comment went unanswered on Sunday.
On Saturday, Park warned that the international community might not be able to do anything to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program if its efforts to get Pyongyang to denuclearize end in failure.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called his country a “responsible nuclear state” in the clearest sign yet that he won’t give up its nuclear program.
Also Sunday, Park had expressed confidence that her summit with Museveni would serve as a good opportunity to boost friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Park is the first South Korean president who has visited Uganda since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1963.
The summit — the third such meeting between the two leaders — came as South Korea is reaching out to Africa to boost business opportunities with the continent that has huge growth potential.
Museveni has cited South Korea as a model for his country’s economic development.
South Korea has become a donor country from a key recipient of U.N. aid in half a century, a transformation that has inspired many developing nations to follow in the footsteps of the Asian country in advancing their economies.
After the summit, Park and Museveni watched as their representatives signed 10 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the two nations.
The MOUs call for, among other things, bilateral cooperation in the energy and plant sector, a move that Seoul says could help South Korean companies make inroads into Uganda’s infrastructure market.
A consortium led by GS Engineering & Construction Co., a major South Korean construction firm, has been in talks with Uganda over a US$1.5 billion project to build a refinery near Hoima in western Uganda.
One of the pacts calls for bilateral cooperation in the generation, distribution and transmission of electrical power.
Uganda is pushing to build two hydroelectric power plants by 2020 to increase its power generation capacity to 2,500 MW from 827 MW in 2014. It also plans to ramp up per capita power consumption to 578 kWh by 2020 from 80 kWh in 2013.