• UN Experts: N. Korea Flouts Sanctions On Nuclear, Missile Programs

Photo: Yonhap News
Photo: Yonhap News
U.N. experts say North Korea is defying sanctions by expanding its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program and exporting coal and illegally importing refined petroleum products in excess of its annual quota.

In a report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, North Korea was said to have also evaded sanctions through "targeted" cyberattacks against officials of countries on the U.N. Security Council and members of its expert panel.

In August of last year, the panel said North Korean cyber experts had illegally raised an estimated two billion dollars for the country's weapons of mass destruction programs.

The experts also asserted that North Korea has maintained its nuclear facilities and continues to produce fissile material, including highly enriched uranium.

They quoted several unidentified countries as saying Pyongyang has "probably" developed miniaturized nuclear weapons that can fit into its ballistic missiles.

Illicit deliveries of refined petroleum products to the North through ship-to-ship transfers were also identified by the panel, which cited satellite imagery and data from 43 countries.

It was estimated that North Korea has "already far exceeded" the annual ceiling of 500,000 barrels set by the UNSC for 2020.

Based on separate data, the experts said the North's coal exports, which were suspended briefly due to the coronavirus pandemic, have resumed.

The independent panel report was issued as U.S. efforts to get North Korea to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs remain stalled, with little prospect of a new summit between President Donald Trump and Pyongyang`s leader Kim Jong Un before the U.S. presidential election in November.

Last week, Kim said his country's nuclear weapons were a solid security guarantee and a "reliable, effective" deterrent that could prevent a second Korean War.

U.N. sanctions on the North, initially imposed after the regime conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, are not supposed to hurt the North Korean people.

The experts said "there can be little doubt, however, that they have had negative effects."

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