‘N.Korea continues to develop nuclear, missile programs despite sanctions’

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North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs despite worsening economic conditions exacerbated by UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, a report released by the world body said.

The report issued on Monday by a panel of experts on North Korean sanctions also said the North continues to evade sanctions by ever sophisticating means, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“During the reporting period, despite the country’s focus on its worsening economic travails, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to maintain and develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” said the report, referring to North Korea by its official name.

The semestral report noted the North did not conduct any intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear tests over the reporting period, but that it staged a short-range ballistic missile test “combining ballistic and guidance technologies”.

Pyongyang launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea in late March.

North Korea is prohibited from developing or testing any ballistic missiles under UNSC resolutions.

The panel of experts said the North also continued to seek materials and technologies for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs from overseas.

The latest report comes after a series of North Korean missile launches in recent days that North Korea says included the test launch of a new “hypersonic missile”.

Pyongyang also test launched a short-range ballistic missile in mid-September.

The report noted the North’s exports of prohibited items, such as coal, continued at a “much reduced level”, while its imports of oil products, which are also subject to strict limits under UNSC sanctions, fell substantially in the first half of the year.

The North, however, continued to evade sanctions by sophisticating the management and ownership structures of its vessels used in illicit dealings, according to the report.

“Access by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to international financial institutions continued, as did the presence overseas of its workers earning revenue for use in State programs,” it said.

–IANS

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