N. Korea condemns sanctions on sports gear exports

Kim Jong-Un promised in 2015 to transform North Korea into a sports powerhouse "within a few years" but the communist state is a virtual pariah owing to its nuclear weapons programme.

N. Korea condemns sanctions on sports gear exports

World Bulletin / News Desk

North Korea hit out Monday at international sanctions targeting sports equipment, claiming the restrictions hindered their ability to compete at an international level.

The country is subject to a host of UN sanctions, with Resolution 2270 -- implemented last March -- specifically barring Pyongyang from importing equipment including skis, yachts, mountaineering boots and even billiard tables.

Sporting firearms, ammunition and archery gear is also banned from being exported to North Korea.

"A few European countries and their sportswear businesses are blindly dragged into the wicked attempts of politicising sports," Kang Ryong-Kil, Deputy Secretary General of the North's Olympic Committee said.

"The thing is that sports firearms can never be turned into rockets nor the rockets be fired from them," he said in a statement.

Kang claimed the sanctions were part of a "vicious ulterior political scheme" to isolate North Korea from international sports competitions, such as the Olympics, and labelled the trade restrictions a "despicable, illegal and immoral act".

The statement comes as the UN Security Council is set to hold an urgent meeting following North Korea's ballistic missile launch on Sunday.

The sanctions imposed in March 2016 following the North's fourth nuclear test have challenged the country's participation in global sport.

In March, football's Zurich-based world governing body FIFA said it was withholding around $1.7 million earmarked for North Korean football development projects because of Swiss sanctions against the country.

And in May, the Italian parliament raised questions over a North Korean playing in the youth team of Serie A side Fiorentina -- saying the Pyongyang regime might be violating sanctions by skimming his wages.

The player left the side in July, according to a club spokesman who acknowledged there had been "some bureaucratic problems".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Şubat 2017, 12:30