N Korea earned $200mn by flouting sanctions

Pic Reuters

Pic ReutersUNITED NATIONS

But 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".

North Korea received nearly $200 million between January and September 2017 from exports of coal, iron, steel and other commodities banned under UN Security Council resolutions meant to crack down on Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, according to a confidential report. Their report states North Korea delivered "items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs".

The UN has repeatedly tightened sanctions on North Korea over the past year in response to a series of ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

It said "there was proof that Pyongyang was helping Syria to develop chemical weapons and providing ballistic missiles to Myanmar".

It said much of the shipments passed through Chinese, Russian, Malaysian and Vietnamese ports and that more than 30 representatives of North Korean financial institutions were operating overseas, including in China and Russia. Both contained acid-resistant tiles that could cover an area equal to a large-scale industrial project, the monitors reported.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013. But diplomats and weapons inspectors suspect Syria may have secretly maintained or developed a new chemical weapons capability.

"Myanmar and Syria continued to co-operate with North Korea's main arms exporter, Komid, despite it being on a United Nations sanctions blacklist", the report said.

The false paperwork apparently showed countries such as Russian Federation and China as the origin of the merchandise, instead of North Korea. It banned all exports of coal by North Korea on Aug 5, 2017.

The U.N. monitors "also investigated cases of ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in violation (of U.N. sanctions). and found that the network behind these vessels is primarily based in Taiwan province of China".

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".

The experts said North Korea is also exploiting "a key vulnerability" which has enabled the country "to easily create front companies offshore in Asian financial centres where they leverage assistance" from other nationals and use the firms to open accounts and move money worldwide.

The panel said 2018 offered a "critical window of opportunity before a potential miscalculation with disastrous implications for global peace and security".

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