N. Korea flouts sanc­tions, sends weapons to Syria and Myan­mar, says UN

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - Ca­role Landry

North Korea is flout­ing sanc­tions by ex­port­ing coal, iron, steel and other banned com­modi­ties, earn­ing nearly $200 mil­lion in rev­enue last year, a UN re­port said ear­lier this month.

A UN panel of ex­perts also found ev­i­dence of mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion by North Korea to de­velop Syria's chem­i­cal weapons pro­grams and to pro­vide Myan­mar with bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

North Korea "con­tin­ued to ex­port al­most all the com­modi­ties pro­hib­ited in the res­o­lu­tions, gen­er­at­ing nearly $200 mil­lion in rev­enue be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber 2017," said the re­port by the ex­perts seen by AFP.

Coal ship­ments were de­liv­ered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Rus­sia and Viet­nam by ships us­ing "a com­bi­na­tion of mul­ti­ple evasion tech­niques, routes and de­cep­tive tac­tics," said the re­port.

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil last year adopted a se­ries of res­o­lu­tions to tighten and ex­pand ex­ports bans aimed at cut­ting off rev­enue to North Korea's mil­i­tary pro­grams.

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 US main­land could soon be within reach.

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

The panel found that 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."

Arm­ing Syria, Myan­mar

Syria and Myan­mar are con­tin­u­ing co­op­er­a­tion with North Korea's KOMID cor­po­ra­tion, the coun- try's main arms ex­porter, which is on a UN sanc­tions black­list, the re­port said.

The panel un­cov­ered more than 40 pre­vi­ously un­re­ported ship­ments from North Korea be­tween 2012 and 2017 to front com­pa­nies for Syria's Sci­en­tific Stud­ies Re­search Coun­cil, also known as CERS, a key in­sti­tute for Syria's chem­i­cal pro­gramme.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­veal "sub­stan­tial new ev­i­dence" con­cern­ing Py­ongyang's mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with

Da­m­as­cus, in­clud­ing at least three vis­its by North Korean tech­ni­cians to Syria in 2016.

A visit by a North Korean tech­ni­cal del­e­ga­tion in Au­gust 2016 in­volved the "trans­fer of spe­cial re­sis­tance valves and ther­mome­ters known for use in chem­i­cal weapons pro­grammes," said the re­port.

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.

Syria how­ever told the panel that there were no North Korean tech­ni­cians in its ter­ri­tory and that the only ex­perts it was host­ing from the coun­try were in­volved in sports.

A mem­ber-state, which was not named, also no­ti­fied the panel that Myan­mar had re­ceived "bal­lis­tic mis­sile sys­tems from (North Korea) in ad­di­tion to a range of con­ven­tional weapons, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple rocket launches and sur­face-to air mis­siles".

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

While sanc­tions have been sig­nif­i­cantly broad­ened, this "ex­pan­sion of the regime is yet to be matched by the req­ui­site po­lit­i­cal will" to im­ple­ment the mea­sures, the ex­perts said.

The panel of ex­perts said 2018 of­fered a "crit­i­cal win­dow of op­por­tu­nity be­fore a po­ten­tial mis­cal­cu­la­tion with dis­as­trous im­pli­ca­tions for in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity."

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