North Korea busts UN sanctions

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The UN said that North Korea is flouting sanctions by exporting coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, earning almost $200 million (Dh734.5m) in revenue in 2017.

Coal shipments were delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam by ships using combination of "deceptive navigation patterns, signals manipulation, transshipment", independent United Nations monitors said in the report, which was seen by Bloomberg News.

The UN panel "also investigated cases of ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in violation [of UN sanctions].and found that the network behind these vessels is primarily based in Taiwan province of China".

The monitors added that they had investigated an ongoing ballistic cooperation between Syria and Myanmar, which also includes over 40 unreported North Korean exports between 2012 and 2017 to Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, Reuters reported.

The panel said its investigations highlight the activity of intelligence agents and other individuals acting on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities who operate bank accounts in Europe and the Asia-Pacific "and use diplomatic passports and diplomatic-plated cars to cross land and air borders with less scrutiny".

The council moved to curb North Korea's coal exports - the cash-strapped country's biggest foreign currency earner - in 2016 and introduced a total ban on them in August 2017.

Syria and Myanmar are continuing cooperation with North Korea's KOMID corporation, the country's main arms exporter, which is on a United Nations sanctions blacklist, the report said.

United Nations report accuses Pyongyang of selling weapons, exporting banned materials and violating sanctions.

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

In September, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed restrictions on eight North Korean banks and 26 people operating in four countries, in an attempt to weaken the Kim Jong Un regime.

Last year, the Security Council adopted a series of resolutions to tighten and expand exports bans aimed at cutting off revenue to North Korea's military programmes.

The Pentagon releases its updated Nuclear Posture Review.

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

Syria denied co-operation with North Korea on their chemical weapons programmes, saying that the only experts it was hosting from the country were involved in sports.

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

North Korean diplomats in trade particularly continue to provide logistical support for arms sales and help organise exchanges for military technicians.

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