Moldova is set to export domestic wines to North Korea as it seeks to step up bilateral and potential economic cooperation, according to the Moldovan President Igor Dodon, informs North Korea News Agency.
The comments were made by Dodon in a meeting with a North Korean delegation led by Ri Su Yong, the former minister for foreign affairs and current chairman of the Diplomatic Commission in the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK).
While looking to establish further trade ties with Moldova, North Korea could may have also been seeking to establish a secure and stable supplier of wine to the country.
In European Union (EU) regulations – as with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions against North Korea – there is a ban on the exportation of luxury goods to North Korea.
Annex III of European Council’s Regulation (EC) No 329/2007 however is more specific and prohibits the transfer to North Korea of “high quality wines (including sparkling wines), spirits and spirituous beverages”.
Given the Republic of Moldova is not an EU country, the export of wines would not be subject to the potential scrutiny that it would do coming from an EU member state.
Existing trade between North Korea and Moldova remains low, with the DPRK only importing USD$38,000 worth of pharmaceutical products from Moldova between 2000 and 2015, according to the NK Pro trade map.
On the other hand, North Korea exported over USD$2.5 million to Moldova in the same period, with the majority of that trade represented by iron and steel products, vehicles, raw hides, machinery and electronics.
Dodon’s critics were not impressed by these diplomatic gestures, however, pointing out that North Korea is a police state with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
The vice-president of parliament, Iurie Leanca, said it was time to limit the President’s prerogatives in foreign policy.
“Comrade Dodon, please stop! It’s time to become civilized and think maturely!” he said. “We are in Europe, we’re supposed to be Europeans, where the values of democracy are at the basis of all states. You cannot legitimize authoritarian regimes like North Korea!” Leaca said.