Published November 10, 2010
UNITED NATIONS -- A report by U.N. experts saying North Korea is exporting banned nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Syria and Myanmar has been sent to the Security Council after China dropped its objections, U.N. diplomats said Wednesday.
The panel's report was submitted to the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang in early May but China, a close ally of North Korea, blocked its transmission to the full 15-member council, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations have been private.
The experts said North Korea is exporting nuclear and ballistic missile technology and using multiple intermediaries, shell companies and overseas criminal networks to circumvent U.N. sanctions. It called for further study of these suspected activities and urged all countries to try to prevent them.
"The Panel of Experts has reviewed several government assessments, reporters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, research papers and media reports indicting continuing involvement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities in certain countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Syrian Arab Republic and Myanmar (Burma)."
The report goes on to expose how North Korea engages in "the use of multiple layers of intermediaries, shell companies and financial institutions" to "circumvent" U.N. sanctions.
In particular, the report identifies a network of "trade offices" that engage in "handling its illicit trade and covert acquisitions," including establishing "links with overseas criminal networks to carry out these activities," which also may "include weapons of mass destruction-sensitive goods and arms and related materiel smuggling."
Perhaps the most damning finding is that North Korea "has continued to provide missiles, components and technology to certain countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic, "and that North Korea "has proved assistance for a nuclear program in the Syrian Arab Republic."
The 47-page report and a 23-page annex document sanctions violations reported by U.N. member states, including four cases involving arms exports and two seizures of luxury goods by Italy -- two yachts and high-end recording and video equipment. The report also details the broad range of techniques that North Korea is using to try to evade sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council after its two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, said in a statement Wednesday that the report "should be a wake-up call for the U.S. and other responsible nations."
"Instead of continuing its failed strategy of seeking to engage the regime in endless negotiation, the administration must ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.