05 February, 2018
Over the past year, North Korea has been subject to three Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions for detonating its sixth and most powerful nuclear test as well as a spate of ballistic missile tests showing signs of advanced technology.
North Korea has been selling weapons to the governments of Syria and Myanmar, and has been exporting banned materials such as coal, iron, and steel, a United Nations report has found. In addition, Pyongyang reportedly traded arms with Syria and Myanmar.
North Korean financial institutions, including banks which have been sanctions by the council, "maintain more than 30 overseas representatives who live and move freely across borders in the Middle East and Asia, where they control bank accounts, facilitate transactions and deal in bulk cash", the report said.
They also inspected cargo from two North Korea shipments intercepted by unidentified countries en route to Syria.
The country "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 UN monitors also say they investigated 40 unreported shipments from North Korea to Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, which is in charge of Syria's chemical weapons program, between 2012 and 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.
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Chinese, Russian, Malaysian and Burmese embassies in Washington didn't respond to a request for comment by The Wall Street Journal.
The country falsified documents to hide where the coal initially came from, according to Reuters, which viewed the report on Friday.
The report also pointed out that several countries including China, Russia and Malaysia had failed to stop the illegal exports.
Security Council sources say the North's methods of avoiding sanctions have become increasingly sophisticated as the United Nations sanctions have tightened.
The report said several unnamed multinational oil companies were being investigated for their alleged role in supplying petroleum products to North Korea. The UN monitors said all those shipments "would constitute a violation of the resolution, if confirmed".
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). The largest imports ranged from oil to high tech products such as computers and video displays, while Pyongyang's largest exports were textiles and coal.
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.