A confidential memo has revealed Pyongyang flouted UN sanctions on exports of a wide range of goods. Germany has alleged that North Korea is using its Berlin embassy to buy equipment for its weapons program.
North Korea earned nearly $200 million (€160 million) in 2017 by exporting a wide range of banned goods in violation of international sanctions, according to details of a confidential United Nations report seen Friday.
Pyongyang was able to sell coal, steel, iron and petroleum products between January and September to multiple countries, monitors said, despite UN sanctions barring their export.
North Korea has been developing nuclear weapons and sophisticated long-range missiles. Multiple sanctions dating back to 2006 have tried to choke off funding for the nuclear and missile programs.
The 213-page report — seen by multiple news agencies — said North Korea used false paperwork to hide the origin of the coal it shipped to other countries, including Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam.
UN monitors also said North Korea had flouted UN financial sanctions through “deceptive practices” and engaged in “widespread conventional arms deals and cyber operations to steal military secrets.”
The report said there was not enough “political will” and coordination to ensure sanctions were fully working.
Sales to Syria, Myanmar
Pyongyang also appeared to have cooperated with Syria and Myanmar in ballistic missile development, according to monitors.
An investigation into 40 unreported North Korean shipments to the Syrian entity in charge of the country’s chemical weapons program showed “further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs.”
The Syrian government allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians in 2013 and agreed to destroy its stockpile later that year.
The report said Pyongyang also shipped ballistic missiles, air-to-surface missiles and rocket launchers to Myanmar.
German intel chief: Pyongyang using Berlin embassy for procurement
Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Berlin’s intelligence agency, claimed on Saturday that the North Korean regime had used its Berlin embassy to receive equipment intended for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
“We have seen that procurement activities took place from there, from our point of view with a view to the missile program and in part also the nuclear program,” Maassen told German broadcaster NDR, as part of a documentary due to air next week.
“If we see such things, we prevent them,” he added, but admitted that it wasn’t always possible to distinguish between goods intended for civilian or military purposes.
dm, amp/ng (AP, AFP, Reuters)