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05 February 2018, 06:17 | Violet Powell
North Korea Violated UN Sanctions To Earn $200 Million from Prohibited Exports, Report Finds
North Korea earned $200 million past year by exporting banned commodities in breach of global sanctions, according to a United Nations report.
The United States led the push for tough economic sanctions against North Korea after its sixth nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile launches that indicated the USA mainland could soon be within reach of a nuclear strike by Pyongyang.
Its imports of crude oil and other petroleum products are also restricted.
Additionally, the document alleges that Pyongyang has provided weapons to Syria and Myanmar - which is "further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs", the document read. It has also allegedly supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar.
The delivery of oil and oil products to North Korea should not be reduced, Moscow's ambassador to Pyongyang was cited as saying by RIA news agency on Wednesday, adding that a total end to deliveries would be interpreted by North Korea as an act of war.
Following the revelation, China's embassy in North Korea denied flouting Security Council sanctions and said in a statement that the two neighbours had maintained "normal trade exchanges".
Apart from coal, it accused North Korea of continuing to export "almost all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions", with major sources of revenue coming from banned trade in resources such as iron and steel as well as iron ore.
North Korea on Saturday condemned the latest US sanctions. and Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov said Russia had no obligation to carry out sanctions produced by the U.S.
A member state, which also remained unnamed, 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".
The UN monitors investigated 16 coal shipments between January and August 5 to ports in Russia, China, Malaysia and Vietnam.
News of the report came hours after US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said that the US was investigating the Syrian government over reports that it was using the deadly nerve gas sarin on the battlefield. CNN has obtained key sections of the report from a United Nations diplomat who is not authorized to speak publicly.
North Korea has for years used deceptive shipping practices to bring in money and goods for the regime.
Syria told the panel no North Korea technical companies are operating in the country, and the only North Koreans there are involved in sports.
It pointed out that Chinese food, fruit and household products were still being sold in North Korea.
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