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North Korea is advancing its nuclear program and increasing illicit trade, new UN report says

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But either way, the report concludes, they "point to a new phase in the ballistic missile program."Although North Korea has dodged sanctions for many years, the report says, the government of Kim Jong Un has "continued to flout Security Council resolutions through illicit maritime exports of commodities, notably coal and sand," in order to "provide a revenue stream that has historically contributed to the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs." For the components of and technology for its missile program, North Korea uses "illicit external procurement," some of which is documented by U.S.-provided imagery, data and calculations, the report adds. Illicit imports of petroleum and exports of coalDetailed satellite imagery, invoices, and maps obtained by the report authors that North Korea illicitly imported refined petroleum products "through ship-to-ship transfers and through direct deliveries by foreign-flagged vessels," according to the report.The report says that the annual cap for 2019, set by the U.N., for the purchase of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products "was exceeded many times over."  The report also describes vessels carrying illicit coal shipments anchored in Chinese waters, near the Ningbo-Zhoushan and Lianyungang port areas.

As said here by Pamela Falk