UN experts say N. Korea flouts sanctions, earns millions

North Korea made almost $200 million previous year by violating United Nations sanctions and shipping coal to multiple countries, according to an exclusive Reuters report.

Sanctions in recent years have targeted North Korea's coal trade with China, as well as banned exports of ore and other raw materials and imposed travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and companies linked to its nuclear programme.

This sanction came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in September that sought to isolate North Korea from the global banking system while adding more pressure on its main industry and shipping, The New York Times reported.

A member country also reported that Myanmar is buying a ballistic-missile system and conventional weapons from North Korea, including rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles, according to the report.

The report also revealed that there was evidence of military co-operation with Syria and Myanmar.

This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 1, 2018, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at the newly-remodeled Pyongyang Trolley Bus Factory in Pyongyang.

A confidential report put together by a panel of experts revealed that North Korea had managed to make a whopping $200 million flouting sanctions.

The report suggests that North Korea had shipped coal to ports in Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam using false paperwork.

Syria and Myanmar are continuing cooperation with North Korea's KOMID corporation, the country's main arms exporter, which is on a United Nations sanctions blacklist, the report said.

Investigators highlighted that North Korea "is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries and the worldwide banking system", the document states. It has also allegedly supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar.

In a photo taken on November 21, 2017, a truck entering the Rason Special Economic Zone makes its way across a bridge over the Tumen river marking the border between North Korea (bottom) and China (top).

Syria and Myanmar have previously been accused of carrying out acts that amount to crimes against humanity.

Two weeks ago, a Japanese spy plane spotted a North Korean tanker likely violating United Nations sanctions by engaging in an illicit ship-to-ship transfer with a Dominican flagged ship.

Between 2012 and 2017, Pyongyang has reportedly conducted over 40 shipments to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, a body that oversees the chemical weapons program in the country.

It confirmed that Myanmar and Syria were cooperating with North Korea's main arms-exporter Komid.

While sanctions have been significantly widened, this "expansion of the regime is yet to be matched by the requisite political will" to implement the measures, the experts said.

North Korean diplomats, in particular trade representatives, continue to provide logistical support for arms sales and help organise exchanges for military technicians, it said.

  • Delores Daniels