Govt bans NKorean investment in Nepal

Kathmandu, September 16

As per the United Nations resolution, the government has banned investments from North Korea in Nepal.

Businesses being operated by North Korean nationals in Nepal have been given a deadline of October-end to shut down their enterprises and repatriate their existing investment.

Prem Luintel, director at the Department of Industry (DoI), said the government has taken this decision as per the UN sanctions on North Korea.

According to DoI, there are currently nine business enterprises being run by North Korean nationals in Nepal, of which two are software companies, one is a hospital and the remaining are restaurants.

“We had held talks with officials from the North Korean embassy in Kathmandu on three occasions and requested them to ask their nationals to close down their businesses,” said Luintel, adding that the embassy officials had agreed to heed the request. “However, since they have failed to deliver on their promise, the government has decided to issue an ultimatum.”

He further added that some new businesses had recently registered with the government and were preparing to launch their operation soon.

At present, North Korean nationals are running Ne-Koryo Hospital in Tanahun district and Himal Chilbo Technical Solutions in Lalitpur district. Similarly, other businesses include Hotel Re Min & Restaurant, Pyongyang Akugyan Nepal, Pyongyang Arirang Restaurant, Yong Bong Chand IT Company, Botonggang Restaurant and Bar, Himalayan Soje Restaurant and Minas Restaurant and Bar in Kathmandu district.

On June 15, expressing concern over growing business activities of North Koreans in Nepal, the United States had asked the government not to entertain North Koreans in the country stating that Nepal as a member of the UN should respect the decision taken by the global body to impose sanctions on the country.

Mark Lambert, special US envoy for North Korea, who was on a three-day visit to Nepal, made this appeal to lawmakers, senior government officials and ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

On July 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had forwarded the report of UN resolution 2397 related to North Korean sanctions to the Department of Industry and asked the department to take appropriate decisions on the matter.

With the recent government decision, the door to investment from North Korea has now been closed. Earlier, it had shown keen interest to invest in Nepal’s hydroelectric and agriculture industries.

The government had extended visas of foreign workers employed in the nine companies up to October 31 only.

Nepal became a member country of the UN in 1955. The UN has imposed a number of sanctions on North Korea after the country started developing nuclear weapons, in violation of the UN charter.