Uganda, one of North Korea’s closest allies in Africa, said it would halt all military cooperation with Pyongyang following a summit meeting with South Korea’s president.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has ordered his prime minister to ensure that relevant government departments sever all police and military ties with North Korea, deputy government spokesman Shaban Bantariza said.
An end to military links between Uganda and North Korea would represent a victory for South Korean President Park Geun-hye as she tries to disrupt Pyongyang’s diplomatic and financial network to discourage its nuclear arms development.
Ms. Park is on a three-nation tour in Africa and met with Mr. Museveni on Sunday. The two leaders discussed increasing economic and other links, according to a South Korean government spokesman.
Under new United Nations sanctions imposed following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January, the nation is banned from all military links with foreign countries, including all weapons trade and training contracts. Military trade has for decades been a source of cash and intelligence for North Korea.
Earlier in May, Ms. Park visited Iran, another traditional ally of North Korea, and asked for its cooperation in pressuring Pyongyang.
Uganda’s military links to North Korea date back to the early 1970s when then-dictator Idi Amin signed an agreement with Pyongyang to provide training and weapons for his armed forces. Since then, North Korea has mainly provided Uganda with support services, such as training and arms maintenance.
A U.N. report this year said Uganda had confirmed North Korean military officials were training its police force as of the end of 2015. The panel also noted that military trainers from North Korea had been photographed wearing Ugandan air force uniforms.
Another Ugandan government spokesman told The Wall Street Journal last week that Uganda has training contracts with the North Korean military and still imports arms from North Korea.
The two Koreas are locked in a battle for influence in Africa. Late last week, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with a delegation from Mozambique in Pyongyang, according to North Korean state media reports.
Following the summit meeting on Sunday in Kampala, Uganda said it would adhere to U.N. sanctions and end military links with North Korea as it forges closer ties with South Korea.
“The directive takes immediate effect and is aimed at ensuring that Uganda complies with the U.N. resolution on North Korea” Mr. Bantariza.