UN report accuses North Korea of earning $200 million by violating sanctions

Report: despite sanctions, exports continue

By RICHARD ROTH, CNN
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, votes with other members of the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions on North Korea on December 22, 2017 in New York City.

(CNN) - North Korea earned nearly $200 million from exporting coal and other banned commodities last year in violation of UN sanctions, according to a new United Nations report.

The report was authored by a panel of experts investigating North Korea and has been sent to a UN committee on North Korea. CNN has obtained key sections of the report from a UN diplomat who is not authorized to speak publicly.

CNN has not reviewed the entire document.

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

It also indicates that North Korea exported coal to China, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam, in addition to falsifying‎ documents to conceal the origin of the coal.

China has consistently denied breaching sanctions.

Investigators highlighted that North Korea "is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries and the international banking system," the document states.

Tough sanctions

A series of increasingly strict resolutions were passed at the UN Security Council against Pyongyang in 2017, in response to the rogue regime's repeated weapons tests.

The measures, passed after intense lobbying by Washington, targeted energy, money transfers and shipping.

North Korea has for years used deceptive shipping practices to bring in money and goods for the regime. But its fleet has come under increased scrutiny as the United States has looked for new ways to punish the Kim regime.

The issue of ship-to-ship transfers was brought up several times at a summit on North Korea in Vancouver last month. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that more was needed to be done on the issue of maritime interdiction operations when it comes to stopping sanctions violations.

"We must put an end to illicit ship-to-ship transfers that undermine UN sanctions," he said.

Two weeks ago, a Japanese spy plane spotted a North Korean tanker likely violating UN sanctions by engaging in an illicit ship-to-ship transfer with a Dominican flagged ship.

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