Lighthouse Winmore tanker north korea

North Korea Made $200m Flouting Maritime Sanctions

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February 4, 2018

The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, is seen in the sea off Yeosu, South Korea December 29, 2017. Picture taken December 29, 2017. Yonhap via REUTERS

by Kambiz Foroohar (Bloomberg) North Korea received almost $200 million between January and September 2017 from exports of coal, iron, steel and other commodities banned under UN Security Council resolutions meant to crack down on Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, according to a confidential report.

Coal shipments were delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam by ships using combination of “deceptive navigation patterns, signals manipulation, transshipment,” independent United Nations monitors said in the report, which was seen by Bloomberg News.

The report noted that increased sanctions have created lucrative markets for North Korean traders to procure petroleum products and export natural resources, and that more action is needed by countries to stop such oil and coal transfers.

The panel of experts’ report also warned of continuing cooperation on ballistic missile development between North Korea and Myanmar and Syria, which have been providing logistical support, military technicians and intelligence operations and using front companies.

The UN Security Council on Dec. 23 approved new steps tightening the screws on North Korea’s economy following the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile in November, which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U.S. The latest restrictions were meant to slash imports of refined petroleum products, restrict shipping, and impose a deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home.

In January, the Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions targeting North Korea’s oil industry and shipping companies, as well as individuals or entities in China and Russia, two countries the U.S. says needs to do more to rein in Kim’s nuclear weapons program.


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