Pyongyang keeps exporting arms, says UN panel

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Pyongyang keeps exporting arms, says UN panel

North Korea has continued to export weapons and other prohibited items despite the international community’s tough sanctions, a UN report said.

According to an annual report written by a UN Security Council Panel of Experts established under Resolution 1874, North Korea has persisted with arms trades with countries in the Middle East or Africa in “perfect ways to evade detection,” ignoring Security Council sanctions that prohibit any arms trade.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea exports weapons and ammunition, but it also exports services or assistance related to the manufacture and maintenance of arms and related materiel,” said the report, which was dated on March 6 but released yesterday.

“Since 2009, the Panel has gathered evidence showing that it is active in the refurbishment of arms produced in the former Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s, such as jet fighters, surface-to-air missile systems or antiaircraft cannons, submarines, main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, howitzers, multiple-rocket launchers and mortars.”

The suspected trading partners of North Korea include Myanmar, Syria and also some African countries, the report said.

“The Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group recently obtained and published new evidence that a shipment of machine tools in May 2011 may have been part of ongoing arms-related cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Eritrea,” the report said.

“In July and December 2013, the United States designated two individuals and three entities … involved in arms trading between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Myanmar.”

In July 2013, a North Korea cargo vessel named Chong Chon Gang was caught by Panamanian authorities, concealing arms beneath more than 200,000 bags of sugar, the report mentioned.

“Although the precise income it earned from this trade is subject to debate, there is no question that it is one of the country’s most profitable revenue sources,” it said.

North Korea has announced a restart of its nuclear activities, a violation of UNSC sanctions, the report said.

The report mentioned North Korea’s announcement in April 2013 that it will restart all nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, including the 5 megawatt reactor.

In August 2013, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors also reported that the regime was renovating buildings and constructing other facilities in the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which the UN experts confirmed through commercial satellite imagery.

The report said North Korea appears to have no intention of abandoning its weapons of mass destruction, ignoring UN Security Council resolution 2094, which was passed after its third nuclear test in February 2013.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


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