From 13 November to 14 December 2021, the frigate Bayern is involved in monitoring the sanctions against North Korea imposed by the UN Security Council. The frigate is serving here as the eyes and ears of the United Nations. It is collating evidence on illegal cargo transfers on the high seas and on the networks behind such transfers. It is forwarding information on suspicious activities and violations to the Enforcement Coordination Cell (ECC) which in turn reports these to the Group of Experts appointed by the United Nations Security Council. With its six-month training and patrol mission, the frigate Bayern is thus making an important contribution towards strengthening international law and the UN system. The mission is in concrete terms helping implement the decisions of the Security Council which has forbidden North Korea to own and develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. Germany is thus playing an important role in efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
A global threat
A North Korea in possession of nuclear weapons does not just pose a threat to the region but, given the risk of passing on construction blueprints and nuclear material to state and non-state actors, also an immediate threat to global security. The UN Security Council has thus banned North Korea from owning and developing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles and, in response to the ongoing disregard of its decisions by North Korea, has repeatedly tightened its sanctions since 2006. Thus, alongside a strict weapons embargo, oil and gas can only be sold to North Korea to a limited extent. Similarly, the export of coal from North Korea and the import of luxury goods have been prohibited. North Korea is nevertheless endeavouring in various ways to circumvent the sanctions. Existing control mechanisms on the end-use at ports are, for example, circumvented by transferring sanctioned cargo from one ship to another on the high seas.
In the past few years, the importance of the Indo-Pacific region in both economic and political terms has increased markedly. The German Government is now setting out the course for its future policy on the countries of the Region.
On 2 August, the frigate Bayern will leave the north-west German port of Wilhelmshaven for Asia. On a voyage lasting around six months, the ship will join in maritime monitoring of the UN sanctions against North Korea, dock at ports in partner countries and take part in multilateral activities.