North Korea arming Syria, Myanmar

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The rogue infringed United Nations sanctions to rake in nearly $200 million from banned commodity exports past year.

The U.N. monitors underscored that the investigation has shown "further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs".

It says, "North Korea is flouting recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries and the worldwide banking system".

The report said North Korea was helping Syria develop chemical weapons and was providing ballistic missiles to Myanmar. It has also allegedly supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar. In September, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed restrictions on eight North Korean banks and 26 people operating in four countries, in an attempt to weaken the Kim Jong Un regime.

Citing intelligence from member countries, the report said that Syria had been sent special acid-resistant tiles in two North Korean shipments which could be used to build the interior walls of a chemical factory.

Those documents listing countries like Russian Federation and China as the origin of the coal, instead of North Korea.

It said North Korea had shipped coal to ports including Russia, China, and Malaysia, mainly by using false documents.

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It said much of the shipments passed through Chinese, Russian, Malaysian and Vietnamese ports and that more than 30 representatives of North Korean financial institutions were operating overseas, including in China and Russia.

Meanwhile, the report said the North Korea was providing Myanmar with "ballistic missile systems ... in addition to a range of conventional weapons, including rocket launches and surface-to-air missiles". The coal cargo "would constitute a violation of the resolution, if confirmed".

The confidential report, seen by Reuters, said that North Korea "continued to export nearly all the commodities prohibited in the United Nations resolutions between January and September 2017".

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".

North Korea has continuously defended its right to maintain its nuclear weapons as a means of protecting itself from the United States. They said Malaysia reported one shipment to the council committee and the remaining 15 shipments violated sanctions.

The UN monitors also investigated ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, violating UN sanctions.

Investigators looked at 40 previously unreported North Korean shipments between 2012 and 2017 to Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a body which oversees the country's chemical weapons program.

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