North Korea flouts UN sanctions

Ebony Scott
February 5, 2018

UNITED NATIONS North Korea is flouting U.N. sanctions on oil and gas, engaging in prohibited ballistic missile cooperation with Syria and Myanmar, and illegally exporting commodities that brought in almost $200 million in just nine months previous year, according to U.N. experts. It then banned all exports of coal by North Korea on 5 August.

United Nations resolutions adopted in September and December restricted exports of petroleum products to North Korea.

The investigations also reveal "substantial new evidence" concerning Pyongyang's military cooperation with Damascus, including at least three visits by North Korean technicians to Syria in 2016, involving the "transfer of special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons programmes".

Following the revelation, China's embassy in North Korea denied flouting Security Council sanctions and said in a statement that the two neighbours had maintained "normal trade exchanges".

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.

The experts said North Korea also exported $125 million of iron ore to China a year ago in violation of sanctions.

Pyongyang is subject to sanctions from the US, UN and European Union over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Syrian officials had told the monitors that the only North Korean experts on its territory were involved in sport.

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According to a member state that remained unidentified in the report, North Korean "technicians continue to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzei, Adra and Hama".

Between 2012 and 2016, there were more than 40 previously unreported shipments from North Korea to front companies for Syria's Scientific Studies Research Council (CERS) - which is a key institute for the country's chemical programme.

Myanmar UN Ambassador Hau Do Suan said the Myanmar government "has no ongoing arms relationship, whatsoever, with North Korea" and is abiding by the UN Security Council resolutions.

The report said "if confirmed, it would constitute the resolution's violation".

"The DPRK combined deceptive navigation patterns, signals manipulation, transshipments as well as fraudulent documentation to obscure the origin of the coal", the monitors said.

According to the report and the United Nations panel of experts, seven ships have been prevented from entering ports worldwide for violating United Nations sanctions with coal and petroleum transfers.

The monitors said one country, which they did not name, told them North Korea had carried out such transfers off its ports of Wonsan and Nampo and in global waters between the Yellow Sea and East China Sea between October and January.

According to the report, several unnamed multinational oil companies are also now being investigated for their alleged role in supplying petroleum products to North Korea.

Other reports by GizPress

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