A report by the United Nations claims that North Korea shipped banned commodities to a number of countries, including Russia, in 2017, helping it to earn some $200 million in revenue.
A panel of experts said in the report seen by U.S. media on February 2 that Pyongyang had violated UN sanctions by exporting coal, iron, steel, and other commodities barred by the world body.
The report said coal shipments were delivered to Russia, China, Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam by ships using "a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes, and deceptive tactics."
The shipments were made mainly using false paperwork that showed countries such as Russia and China as the origin instead of North Korea, it said.
The UN panel “also investigated cases of ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in violation [of UN sanctions]...and found that the network behind these vessels is primarily based in Taiwan Province of China.”
Pyongyang "continued to export almost all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions, generating nearly $200 million in revenue between January and September 2017," the report said.
The UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017 adopted a series of resolutions to expand bans on North Korea exports designed to cut off revenue to Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.
The country "is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries, and the international banking system."
The experts also found evidence of military cooperation by North Korea to develop Syria's chemical weapons programs and to provide Burma with ballistic missiles.
The Security Council has imposed sanctions on seven vessels for illegally transferring North Korean coal and petroleum.
North Korea angered the world community by continuing to test its banned nuclear weapons and says the United States is within its missile range.
It has recently made overtures to Seoul and is sending a team to the Winter Olympics in South Korea starting on February 9.
With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP