North Korea earns $200 million from exports in 2017, violating United Nations sanctions

UN Report: North Korea Sold Weapons to Syria and Myanmar

North Korea is flouting United Nations sanctions on oil and gas, engaging in prohibited ballistic missile co-operation with Syria and Myanmar, and illegally exporting commodities that brought in almost $200 million in just nine months a year ago, according to United Nations experts. Multiple sanctions dating back to 2006 have tried to choke off funding for the nuclear and missile programs.

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.

According to the report, the panel investigated North Korea's ongoing ballistic missile co-operation with Syria and Myanmar.

The United States led the push for tough economic sanctions after North Korea's sixth nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile launches that raised fears that the USA mainland could soon be within range.

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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.

Seven ships have been barred from ports worldwide for violating United Nations sanctions with coal and petroleum transfers, but the experts said much more must be done to confront "these rampant illicit activities".

A member-state that was not named told the panel that North Korean "technicians continue to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzei, Adra and Hama" in Syria, said the report.

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.

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"This year could represent a critical window of opportunity before a potential miscalculation with disastrous implications for global peace and security", the experts said.

The U.N. 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.

The report suggests that North Korea may be helping Syria's Bashar al-Assad maintain his country's banned chemical weapons stockpile despite Syria's agreement to destroy such weapons in 2013.

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