Pyongyang has been the target of a series of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council since 2017, which restricts North Korean imports of petroleum products and bans it from exporting coal, fish or textiles.
But Kim Jong Un’s regime has managed to continue to develop nuclear and ballistic arsenals, according to some experts, and to multiply its summit meetings with US Presidents Donald Trump, South Korean Moon Jae-in and Chinese Xi Jinping.
The UN Security Council announced on Monday that in the first five months of 2020, Pyongyang has already exceeded its annual import quota for refined petroleum products – 500,000 barrels.
The council points out in this report that deliveries to the isolated regime “far exceed” the authorized ceiling and that it bases its allegations on “photographs, data and calculations”.
“Ships belonging to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the official name of the regime) and ships sailing under foreign flags continue their elaborate diversion practices” to illegally import oil, UN experts accuse.
The report does not specify which country is responsible for these illegal exports to North Korea.
But the document shows that these cargoes also contain luxury cars and alcohol.
China and Russia – Pyongyang’s two allies – rejected the findings, saying they were based on “assumptions and estimates.”
The North is accused of “continuing to violate Security Council resolutions through illegal maritime coal exports, despite the fact that they were temporarily suspended from early January to late March 2020.”
Negotiations on the nuclear issue between the North and the United States are stalled due to disagreements, especially over lifting sanctions and what Pyongyang is prepared to do in exchange for lifting sanctions.
UN Security Council experts also cite the case of the transfer in January of North Korean footballer Han Kwang Song from Juventus to the Al-Duhail Club in Qatar, which he claims violates resolutions banning North Koreans from working abroad.
“Despite the fact that the panel immediately contacted Italy and Qatar on the issue of Mr Han’s transfer, it was not canceled,” the report said.
The 22-year-old striker was paid about 607,000 dollars (520,000 euros) per year by the Turin club, from 2018 to 2020.
He is to receive more than five million dollars – in the next five years – from Al-Duhail.
“The panel has again notified Qatar of relevant resolutions on the case,” the report said.
UN sanctions require the Organization’s member states to send North Koreans working abroad back home.
The deadline for this measure was December 2019.
According to experts, only about 40 countries have reported on measures to expel some Korean Koreans.