February 25, 2018

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North Korea earned US$200 million by flouting United Nations sanctions

05 February 2018

North Korea violated United Nations sanctions to earn almost $200 million in 2017 from banned commodity exports, according to a confidential report by independent UN monitors, which also accused Pyongyang of supplying weapons to Syria and Myanmar.

To obstruct funding to Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missiles program, the worldwide community has enforced restrictive economic measures.

Its imports of crude oil and other petroleum products are also restricted.

A United Nations panel of experts also found evidence of North Korea's ongoing military cooperation with Syria to develop its ballistic missile and chemical weapons programmes, and with Myanmar.

Kim Jong Un's government may also be involved with the government of Syria, according to the report.

Under a 2016 resolution, the Security Council capped coal exports and required countries to report any imports of North Korean coal to the council's sanctions committee.

According to United Nations monitors, a more unsafe finding was that Myanmar and Syria continued to co-operate with North Korea's main arms exporter, Komid, despite it being on a United Nations sanctions blacklist. China, Russia and Malaysia are failing curb sanctioned finance and trade by North Korea, according to a United Nations report.

The report to the UN Security Council's sanctions committee states these shipments were mostly made by doctoring paperwork to show the coal came from Russian Federation or China.

North Korea on Saturday condemned the latest US sanctions. and Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov said Russia had no obligation to carry out sanctions produced by the U.S.

The report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council said the North "continued to export nearly all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions. between January and September 2017". In 2013, Panamanian forces confiscated a North Korea-flagged ship after undeclared Cuban weapons and fighter jets from the Soviet era were found under sacks of sugar.

Meanwhile, the report said the North Korea was providing Myanmar with "ballistic missile systems ... in addition to a range of conventional weapons, including rocket launches and surface-to-air missiles". "We found that the ships mentioned did not enter our ports, or if they did, then they were carrying cargo that had nothing to do with North Korea", he is cited as saying.

Shortages would lead to serious humanitarian problems, he said, adding: "Official representatives of Pyongyang have made it clear that a blockade would be interpreted by North Korea as a declaration of war, with all the subsequent consequences". They said Malaysia reported one shipment to the council committee and the remaining 15 shipments violated sanctions. The UN monitors said all those shipments "would constitute a violation of the resolution, if confirmed".

The UN monitors also investigated ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, violating UN sanctions.

North Korea earned US$200 million by flouting United Nations sanctions