North Korea Sold Weapons to Syria and Myanmar

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A UN panel of experts says North Korea earned almost 200 million dollars past year from commodity exports banned by UN Security Council resolutions. The report, submitted to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee, revealed that North Korea had exported coals to ports "including in Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam", using forged paperwork that showed Russia and China-as well as other countries-as the origin of coal, instead of Pyongyang.

The US 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. Multiple sanctions dating back to 2006 have tried to choke off funding for the nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea has been selling weapons to the governments of Syria and Myanmar, and has been exporting banned materials such as coal, iron, and steel, a United Nations report has found.

The investigations also reveal "substantial new evidence" concerning Pyongyang's military cooperation with Damascus, including at least three visits by North Korean technicians to Syria in 2016, involving the "transfer of special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons programmes".

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013.

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The report was circulated to the United Nations committee which oversees North Korean sanctions compliance and is then to be passed on to the Security Council. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY. The coal cargo "would constitute a violation of the resolution, if confirmed".

North Korea "is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries, and the worldwide banking system", the panel noted. It banned all exports of coal by North Korea on Aug 5, 2017. And one unidentified country says it has proof Myanmar received shipments of ballistic missile systems, rocket launchers, and more from North Korea. 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.

So, are Russian Federation and China colluding with North Korea?

The monitors said one country, which they did not name, told them North Korea had carried out such transfers off its ports of Wonsan and Nampo and in global waters between the Yellow Sea and East China Sea between October and January.

According to the report and the United Nations panel of experts, seven ships have been prevented from entering ports worldwide for violating United Nations sanctions with coal and petroleum transfers.

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