North Korea flouting sanctions, United Nations told

Posted February 05, 2018

The UN said that North Korea is flouting sanctions by exporting coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, earning almost $200 million (Dh734.5m) in revenue in 2017. But that's not all.

The report to a UN Security Council sanctions committee, seen by Reuters on Friday, said North Korea had shipped coal to ports, including those in Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, mainly using false paperwork that showed countries such as Russia and China as the source of coal, instead of North Korea.

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

The report says the North used trans-shipment through third countries and fraudulent documentation to obscure the origin of the coal. So far, no country named has fessed up to accepting improper coal shipments.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance at the Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang January 25, 2018. Coal is also said to have been exported to several countries, including South Korea, using, quote, "a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics".

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.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013.

Quotas set by the United Nations allow for around 540,000 tonnes of crude oil a year to be delivered to North Korea from China, and over 60,000 tonnes of oil products from Russia, China and other countries, he was quoted as saying.

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Investigators looked at 40 previously unreported North Korean shipments between 2012 and 2017 to Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a body which oversees the country's chemical weapons program.

The panel found that 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".

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. "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.

While sanctions have been significantly widened, this "expansion of the regime is yet to be matched by the requisite political will" to implement the measures, the experts said.

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