by Elton Gomes
According to a confidential UN report accessed by news agency Reuters, North Korea has not halted its nuclear and missile programs, thereby violating United Nations sanctions.
News agency Reuters reported that the six-month report by independent experts reviewing the implementation of UN sanctions was submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee on Friday.
“(North Korea) has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the 149-page report stated, as per Reuters. The North Korean mission to the United Nations has not yet commented on the report.
The UN report stated that North Korea is militarily cooperating with Syria and had also been attempting to sell weapons to the Houthis in Yemen. Between October 2017 and March 2018, Pyongyang also violated a textile ban by exporting goods worth more than $100 million to China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Uruguay, the report said.
The report comes as Russia and China suggest the Security Council to deliberate over easing of sanctions after the Trump-Kim summit. On the other hand, the United States and other council members have clearly stated that sanctions must be strictly enforced until Pyongyang acts.
In addition, experts from the UN said that illegal ship-to-ship fuel transfers in international waters had “increased in scope, scale and sophistication.” The experts said that the North Koreans are turning off their ships’ tracking systems, and are using smaller vessels in an attempt to go undetected.
The experts said that they were shown a letter dated July 13, 2016, from an unidentified country. The letter invited North Korea to meet in Damascus “to discuss the issue of the transfer of technology and other matters of mutual interest.” Furthermore, in the report, the experts heavily criticise North Korea’s “deceptive practices,” and said that they have undermined the effectiveness of sanctions.
During the time the report was being released, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was present at an Asian security forum in Singapore. At the forum, Pompeo said that the US has new, credible reports that Russia is not adhering to UN sanctions by permitting joint ventures with North Korean companies. Pompeo claimed that Moscow has been issuing permits to North Korean workers.
Earlier last week, US officials claimed that Pyongyang appeared to be developing new ballistic missiles despite the recent thaw in relations after US President Donald Trump met Kim Jong-Un. Unnamed US officials told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuous activity at a site that had produced ballistic missiles.
According to new evidence obtained, including satellite photos taken, it was indicated that work was underway on at least one and potentially two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, at the outskirts of Pyonyang.
In a historic summit in Singapore held in June, Trump met Kim Jong-Un. Both leaders pledged to work towards denuclearisation, but the deal lacked details as to how the aim would be achieved.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.