North Korea arming Syria, Myanmar

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The UN report claimed that a year ago, North Korea earned almost $200 million by exporting banned commodities in breach of global sanctions. But that's not all.

But the report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council, said the North "continued to export nearly all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions... between January and September 2017".

Coal shipments were delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam by ship using "a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics", said the report.

Russian Federation and China have repeatedly said they are implementing United Nations sanctions on North Korea. So far, no country named has fessed up to accepting improper coal shipments.

Concerning North Korea's weapons provision to Myanmar, the report cited an anonymous country as saying it has evidence of the transactions, and that in addition to ballistic missiles Pyongyang also supplied conventional weapons, including multiple rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles.

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.

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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. It banned all exports of coal by North Korea on Aug 5, 2017. The coal cargo "would constitute a violation of the resolution, if confirmed".

"The DPRK [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 report reads. Between 2012 and 2017, Pyongyang has reportedly conducted over 40 shipments to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, a body that oversees the chemical weapons program in the country.

Syria told the panel no North Korea technical companies are operating in the country, and the only North Koreans there are involved in sports.

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 received similar economic sanctions.

"We must put an end to illicit ship-to-ship transfers that undermine United Nations sanctions", he said. China, which accounts for 90% of North Korea's trade, however, claimed that normal trade exchanges like Chinese food, fruit and household products continued.

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