Air Koryo could be under investigation by the US State Department as part of a broader crack down on enterprises accused of aiding the DPRK’s nuclear program.
According to South Korea’s KBS TV, the State Department’s sanctions policy coordinator Daniel Fried told a US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs hearing on Wednesday, September 28, that diplomatic pressure had reduced the number of countries willing to allow Air Koryo to land at their airports. The countries involved were not specified.
North Korea’s relations with the international community have deteriorated over the past year following two nuclear tests in January and September as well as the launch of several ballistic missiles. The events violated the terms of United Nations’ (UN) resolutions already in place to curtail Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
In a bid to further cripple the ruling regime, the UN this year prohibited member states from selling or supplying aviation fuel to North Korea so that it cannot be diverted to its ballistic missile program. In addition, UN member states and their nationals have also been prohibited from leasing or chartering locally-registered aircraft, or providing crew services, to the DPRK.
Aside from internal flights, Air Koryo’s scheduled operations are limited to China and Russia.