North Korea violated sanctions, earned $200 million, United Nations report alleges

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In a violation of U.N. sanctions, North Korea exported coal and other banned commodities - earning the country roughly $200 million from the exports previous year, according to a new report from the United Nations.

The UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017 adopted a series of resolutions to expand bans on North Korea exports created to cut off revenue to Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

A member country also reported that Myanmar is buying a ballistic-missile system and conventional weapons from North Korea, including rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles, according to the report.

United Nations monitors found 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.

A U.N. panel of experts on North Korea said these nations and others are failing to stop the Kim Jong Un regime's efforts to fund its nuclear and missile programs, according to a report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The report was authored by a panel of experts investigating North Korea and has been sent to a United Nations committee on North Korea. The report, submitted to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee, revealed that North Korea had exported coals to ports "including in Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam", using forged paperwork that showed Russia and China-as well as other countries-as the origin of coal, instead of Pyongyang. It has also allegedly supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar.

The report included details concerning North Korean coal shipping that was mainly conducted using false documents.

Apart from coal, it accused North Korea of continuing to export "almost all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions", with major sources of revenue coming from banned trade in resources such as iron and steel as well as iron ore.

The Security Council has slapped sanctions on seven vessels for illegally transferring coal and petroleum.

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The same inspectors added that multinational oil companies, which remained nameless in the report, were also subject to investigation for their participation in the supply chain of petroleum products moved to North Korea, Reuters reported.

North Korea has continuously defended its right to maintain its nuclear weapons as a means of protecting itself from the United States.

The issue of ship-to-ship transfers was brought up several times at a summit on North Korea in Vancouver last month.

The panel revealed that between 2012 and 2017, there had been over 40 North Korean shipments to companies acting for the research centre overseeing Syria's chemical weapons programme.

According to Reuters, the authors of the report investigated North Korean arms shipments with Syria and Myanmar.

North Korean diplomats, in particular trade representatives, continue to provide logistical support for arms sales and help organize exchanges for military technicians, it said.

Syrian officials had told the monitors that the only North Korean experts on its territory were involved in sport.

The panel added that this year offered a "critical window of opportunity before a potential miscalculation with disastrous implications for worldwide peace and security".

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