Sends arms to Syria, Myanmar
By Lawrence Audu
A panel of experts constituting the United Nations confidential Independent monitors has accused North Korea of violating United Nations sanctions to earn nearly $200 million in 2017 from banned commodity exports, and supplying weapons to Syria and Myanmar.
In a report to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee, Friday the monitors said North Korea had shipped coal to ports, including in Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, mainly using false paperwork that showed countries such as Russia and China as the coal origin, instead of North Korea.
The 15-member council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
“The DPRK (North Korea) is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries and the international banking system,” the U.N. monitors wrote in the 213-page report.
The panel of experts also said they had investigated ongoing ballistic missile cooperation between Syria and Myanmar, including more than 40 previously unreported North Korea shipments between 2012 and 2017 to Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre, which oversees the country’s chemical weapons program.
The investigation has shown “further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs,” the U.N. monitors wrote.
They also inspected cargo from two North Korea shipments intercepted by unidentified countries en route to Syria. Both contained acid-resistant tiles that could cover an area equal to a large scale industrial project, the monitors reported.
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 DPRK combined deceptive navigation patterns, signals manipulation, transshipments as well as fraudulent documentation to obscure the origin of the coal,” the monitors said.