North Korea Has Earned $200M by Violating Sanctions, UN Report Alleges

A UN panel of experts says North Korea earned almost 200 million dollars past year from commodity exports banned by UN Security Council resolutions.

THE UNITED NATIONS MONITORS, in the 213-page report, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The monitors added that they had investigated an ongoing ballistic cooperation between Syria and Myanmar, which also includes over 40 unreported North Korean exports between 2012 and 2017 to Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, Reuters reported. In addition, Pyongyang reportedly traded arms with Syria and Myanmar.

The confidential report to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee also referenced information that the reclusive country provided ballistic missile systems to Myanmar.

"The DPRK (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 United Nations monitors wrote in the 213-page report.

Both contained acid-resistant tiles that could cover an area equal to a large scale industrial project, the monitors reported. However, diplomats and weapons inspectors suspect Syria may have secretly maintained or developed a new chemical weapons capability.

Chinese, Russian, Malaysian and Burmese embassies in Washington didn't respond to a request for comment by The Wall Street Journal.

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The country falsified documents to hide where the coal initially came from, according to Reuters, which viewed the report on Friday.

It pointed out "extensive use of a combination of multiple evasion tactics including indirect routes, detours, loitering, false documentation, trans-shipment through third countries" and other methods to obfuscate routes and hide the origin of North Korean coal.

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. They said Malaysia reported one shipment to the council committee and the remaining 15 shipments violated sanctions.

The panel said its investigations highlight the activity of intelligence agents and other individuals acting on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities who operate bank accounts in Europe and the Asia-Pacific "and use diplomatic passports and diplomatic-plated cars to cross land and air borders with less scrutiny". The UN monitors said all those shipments "would constitute a violation of the resolution, if confirmed".

The report noted that increased sanctions have created lucrative markets for North Korean traders to procure petroleum products and export natural resources, and that more action is needed by countries to stop such oil and coal transfers. Its imports of crude oil and other petroleum products are also restricted.

Syria told the panel no North Korea technical companies are operating in the country, and the only North Koreans there are involved in sports.

  • Ismael Montgomery