AOAV: all our reportsUK arms exports to countries of concern

UK arms export to North Korea (DPRK) (2012-2022)

Country overview 

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is an authoritarian state ruled by the Kim regime for upwards of sixty years. It is known for it’s highly centralized government, isolated economy and diplomacy and strict control of its citizens. Both the EU and UN have imposed arms embargoes on the country in reaction to North Korea’s first-ever nuclear weapons test in 2006.

How many licenses for the sale of arms to North Korea did the UK government issue between 2012 and 2022?  

The UK government has not exported single-use arms licenses to North Korea in the last decade.

What is the total value of those exports in GBP?


What are the top 10 types of arms export licenses Britain is selling to North Korea?

For almost one decade, the UK sold only two items to North Korea, and all of them were for dual use.

Why should British citizens be concerned about arms sales?

  1. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) remains one of the most repressive countries in the world.
  2. The government heavily monitors private civilian life. Restricting a plethora of civil liberties
  3. North Korea started a nuclear race with tests in 2006 and continued it in 2009, 2013, and 2016.

What has the British government said about these concerns?

  The FCO has said that North Korea “continues to demonstrate no substantive engagement with the international community on human rights.”

What evidence is there of human rights abuses that the XX government has committed since 2012? 

The UN Commission’s final report, concluded that a range of crimes against humanity were committed when people were sent to political prison camps, tortured, and sometimes executed without trial.
In 2015 the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council issued a report on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, detailing: “mass starvation, hundreds of thousands of people ‘disappearing,’ and horrific tales of widespread public execution, torture, and slavery at the hands of the North Korean government.”

In response to a further nuclear test by North Korea in January 2016, the Security Council Resolution 2270 was adopted unanimously. Thus, expanding the arms embargo on North Korea to include small arms and light weapons.

In 2019 human rights groups said it identified hundreds of sites where witnesses say that North Korea carried out public executions and extrajudicial state killings as part of the arbitrary use of the death penalty designed to intimidate its citizens.

During the pandemic, in 2021, the North Korean government extended extreme and unnecessary measures under the pretext of protecting against the spread of Covid-19. This included closing its borders, and tightly restricting domestic travel as well as the distribution of food and other products within the country.