North Korea arming Syria, Myanmar

North Korea arming Syria, Myanmar

United Nations (UN) monitors have accused North Korea of violating global sanctions placed on the country and earning nearly $200 million in 2017 from banned exports, Reuters reported Friday.

North Korea has sold weapons to Syria and Myanmar, according to a draft United Nations report quoted by USA media on Friday which also accused China and Russian Federation of failing to do enough to curb the country's illegal trade. Multiple sanctions dating back to 2006 have tried to choke off funding for the nuclear and missile programs.

The report to a UN Security Council sanctions committee, seen by Reuters on Friday, 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.

Several dozen times over the past decade, the report said, North Korean weapons have been shipped to Syria to develop a chemical-weapons program.

The report said there was not enough "political will" and coordination to ensure sanctions were fully working.

North Korea is also said to have supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar, including materials for ballistic weapons technology and chemical weapons manufacturing. In 2013, Panamanian forces confiscated a North Korea-flagged ship after undeclared Cuban weapons and fighter jets from the Soviet era were found under sacks of sugar. They say they found another 23 shipments in potential violation following the United Nations outright banning North Korean coal exports on August 5. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY. Coal is also said to have been exported to several countries, including South Korea, using, quote, "a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics".

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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 report said "if confirmed, it would constitute the resolution's violation". The largest imports ranged from oil to high tech products such as computers and video displays, while Pyongyang's largest exports were textiles and coal.

Shortages would lead to serious humanitarian problems, he said, adding: "Official representatives of Pyongyang have made it clear that a blockade would be interpreted by North Korea as a declaration of war, with all the subsequent consequences".

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

Quotas set by the United Nations allow for around 540,000 tonnes of crude oil a year to be delivered to North Korea from China, and over 60,000 tonnes of oil products from Russia, China and other countries, he was quoted as saying.

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