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UN: North Korean Airline Facing More Restrictions


An Air Koryo passenger jet prepares for takeoff for a flight to Beijing. The North Korea national airline is facing more problems from the sanctions imposed by the United Nations last year.

An increasing number of countries are banning North Korea’s state-owned airline because of United Nations Security Council restrictions.

Last January, North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test. In response, the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution placing strong economic restrictions, or sanctions, on the North.

Among those restrictions is the use of airplanes to move banned “items for supply, sale, transfer or export.”

Resolution 2270 calls for all member states to “deny permission to any (North Korean) aircraft to take off from, land at or overfly…unless under the condition of landing for inspection.”

The Security Council recently reported that Malaysia has banned Air Koryo from taking off from or landing in any airport it controls. Malaysian officials at the U.N. confirmed the report. It said Air Koryo airplanes also will not be permitted to fly over the country.

Air Koryo began flying from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to Kuala Lumpur once a week in 2011. The U.N. report says the airline made its last flight to the Malaysian capital on June 8, 2014.

Since the U.N. Security Council approved Resolution 2270, more countries have been banning North Korean passenger jets.

In October, the air transport director at the Kuwait International Airport sent VOA an email about the issue. It said that the Kuwaiti government had banned Air Koryo from landing in the country’s airport. The airline had been flying to Kuwait City from Pyongyang since 2011.

Air Koryo airplanes often stopped for refueling in Pakistan when they were flying between Pyongyang and Kuwait. But in July, Pakistani officials told VOA that they had decided to ban North Korean flights from its Benazir Bhutto Islamabad International Airport because of the Security Council’s sanctions.

An Air Koryo flight last stopped at the airport on June 28, 2016.

In April, Air Koryo stopped flying to Bangkok, Thailand, shortly after the Thai government said it supported the Security Council sanctions. The government suggested that it was considering taking action against the airline.

I’m Mario Ritter.

VOA News Writer Ham Jiha reported this story from Washington. Jenny Lee contributed to the report. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sanctions – n. actions taken against a country to cause it to obey international law usually by restricting trade in some way

items – n. objects or products

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