United Nations accuses North Korea of violating sanctions

Trump opens a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants in exchange for border wall

North Korea earned almost $200 million from exporting coal and other banned commodities a year ago in violation of UN sanctions, according to a new United Nations report.

But a report submitted to a United Nations sanctions committee says the North earned at least 196 million dollars through exports of coal to China, Russia, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as through shipping minerals and products.

The committee also investigated cases of ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in violation of the United Nations sanctions and found that the network behind these vessels is primarily based in Taiwan, the report said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said violations of maritime operations involving North Korea are a problem.

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.

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.

It said there was evidence of military co-operation with Syria and Myanmar.

In addition to coal, North Korea is banned from exporting iron, lead and seafood, among other commodities.

The Pentagon releases its updated Nuclear Posture Review.

The UN 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.

Despite numerous rounds of worldwide sanctions, North Korea exported nearly all the commodities that had been prohibited in the resolutions between January and September of a year ago, the report indicates.

Two weeks ago, a Japanese spy plane spotted a North Korean tanker likely violating United Nations sanctions by engaging in an illicit ship-to-ship transfer with a Dominican flagged ship.

Syria and Myanmar have previously been accused of carrying out acts that amount to crimes against humanity.

Between 2012 and 2017 the panel revealed there had been more than 40 North Korean shipments to companies acting for the research centre overseeing Syria's chemical weapons programme.

It urges all countries involved to step up their monitoring of North Korea.

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

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.

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

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

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