North Korea continued to flout global sanctions to earn almost $200 million in 2017 from banned exports of coal and other commodities, according to a United Nations experts' report seen by Kyodo News Friday. The coal had reportedly been shipped worldwide to countries such as China, South Korea, Russia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Pyongyang is subject to sanctions from the US, UN and European Union over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Multiple sanctions dating back to 2006 have tried to choke off funding for the nuclear and missile programs.
Citing intelligence from member countries, the report said that Syria had been sent special acid-resistant tiles in two North Korean shipments which could be used to build the interior walls of a chemical factory.
The report has been submitted to the UNSC sanctions committee. In addition, Pyongyang reportedly traded arms with Syria and Myanmar.
The report said North Korea was helping Syria develop chemical weapons and was providing ballistic missiles to Myanmar. 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. In September, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed restrictions on eight North Korean banks and 26 people operating in four countries, in an attempt to weaken the Kim Jong Un regime. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY.
The UN monitors also said one country, which they did not identify, reported it had evidence that Myanmar received ballistic missile systems from North Korea, along with conventional weapons, including multiple rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles. China, Russia and Malaysia are failing curb sanctioned finance and trade by North Korea, according to a United Nations report. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that more was needed to be done on the issue of maritime interdiction operations when it comes to stopping sanctions violations.
The North Korean company cooperating with the two governments - KOMID - is on a United Nations sanctions blacklist, according to the report. 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.
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.
The UN monitors also investigated ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, violating UN sanctions. It then banned all exports of coal by North Korea on August 5.