KATHMANDU, Sept 17: The government has asked North Korea to take back its investment made in Nepal by October in view of the UN Security Council Resolution against Pyongyang.
Director at Department of Industry, Prem Luitel, said nine companies with North Korean investment in Nepal have been asked to close their operation and take back their investment after the liquidation of their companies.
“The North Korean investors have been issued business visa only until October-end. We have communicated with Embassy of North Korea in Nepal through the foreign ministry to close their business operation by the end of October,” said Luitel.
The government’s move comes amid mounting pressure from the US to honor UN Security Council resolution against North Korea. A number of sanctions have been placed against North Korea after it started developing nuclear weapons in contravention to UN Charter.
The UN Resolution 2397 passed on December 2017 after the launch of intercontinental ballistic missile called for the repatriation of earnings of North Korea nationals abroad within 24 months.
According to Department of Industry, nine business ventures have been established in Nepal with North Korean investment. These include a hospital, hotel and restaurants and software company.
“It is found that the North Korean investment in Nepal started coming in 1996. The North Korean investors seem to have made a total investment of Rs 186.5 million in Nepal,” said Luitel.
Although the government had approved additional Rs 52 million worth of North Korean investment, three of the companies that received permission from the government are yet to come into operation, officials said.
Voicing concern over growing business activities of North Koreans in Nepal, US Special envoy for North Korea Mark Lambert, during his visit to Nepal in June, had urged Nepal to stop North Korean investment. Lambert also expressed concern that North Koreans might have been using Nepal as a base to commit cyber crimes.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs David J Ranz had also raised this issue during his Nepal visit in May. The issue of North Korean investment in Nepal also figured during the meeting of Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington in December last year.