North Korea is busy developing and testing its nuclear weapons. Obviously, it is spending a huge amount on its military. However, the country is ignoring its other responsibilities including more than 1,300 unpaid parking tickets in New York City.
As of this year, North Korea’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations owes New York City $156,000 in unpaid parking tickets. It hasn’t paid its parking tickets since the 1990s, according to NBC’s I-Team.
New York City demanded that North Korea pay its debt. The administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the accrued parking tickets before 2002 were not forgiven.
In 2002 , The Department of State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with New York City. The MoU included a parking program for consular and diplomatic vehicles. The city has the authority to withhold diplomatic parking decals if a vehicle accumulates three or more unpaid tickets, under the MoU.
Jong Jo, the Secretary of North Korea’s UN Mission said the report was “false.” According to him, they pay whenever they get a parking ticket. He cited the reason, “if we have three tickets the city does not allow us to renew their permission.”
Other countries have huge debt in unpaid parking tickets
North Korea is not the only country with significant amount of unpaid parking tickets to New York City.
China’s unpaid parking tickets are worth $398,736. Syria’s parking debt is $362, 550. Iran and Russia owes the city $184,987 and $104,231 in unpaid parking tickets, respectively.
Meanwhile, the State Department said the White House is seriously taking into account the alleged parking violations by diplomatic delegations.
“The Department strictly enforces the rules and associated consequences concerning our extension of driving privileges to foreign mission members in the United States. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously…,” according to the agency in a statement.
Additionally, the State Department reminded the police to handle the problem carefully. It is important to “treat foreign diplomats and consular personnel with respect.” The agency explained any mishandling of incidents “could have direct effect on the treatment of US diplomats and consular personnel serving abroad.”