North Korea continues to evade United Nations sanctions, using flights, ships and the international financial system to procure material needed for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, U.N. experts said, according to the Associated Press (AP). Pyongyang claimed Sunday that it successfully launched a satellite, a move the international community believes is a cover to test North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile.
The experts, who have been monitoring the sanctions on Pyongyang, also said that the Kim Jong Un-led country exports material related to ballistic missiles to the Middle East and trades in arms and related material with Africa, AP reported Tuesday. The panel of experts analyzed sanctions, starting from the country’s first nuclear test in 2006, and are checking how the country has been able to evade them. The report was sent to the U.N. Security Council, where rival South Korea and the U.S. are working on implementing stronger sanctions the latest rocket launch.
According to the report, a “low level of implementation” is one of the reasons North Korea is able to evade sanctions. The panel also cited “lack of political will,” not enough national legislation, an absence to understand the Security Council resolutions, and “low prioritization” as other key reasons.
The panel also said that North Korea hides its illegal activities by placing its agents in foreign companies and using its diplomatic personnel, its trade partners and through forming relationships with few trusted foreign nationals. The panel added, according to AP, that despite being blacklisted through U.N. sanctions since July 2014, North Korea’s Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd. "continues to operate through foreign-flagged vessels, name and company re-registrations, and the rental of crews to foreign ships."
The report concluded that the country's evading of sanctions could “raise important questions about the overall efficacy of the sanctions regime,” AP said.
The rocket launch by North Korea has been condemned by international powers, including China, which has supported Pyongyang on several occasions, while the U.N. Security Council called for an emergency meeting after the launch. World leaders called the launch an “intolerable provocation” and said that it was a banned test of a dangerous ballistic missile technology.
Although China has so far condemned the rocket launch, some experts say that Beijing is reluctant to impose measures that could lead to the country’s economy collapsing. However, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and other Western allies have all called for stronger sanctions.
The U.S. is also set to deploy an advanced missile defense system for South Korea at the earliest to help it face provocations from the North.