Dozens of countries have violated UN North Korea sanctions
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Dozens of countries have violated UN North Korea sanctions

DOZENS of countries, spread across almost every continent, have violated international sanctions imposed on North Korea, a Washington-based think tank said this week.

Institute for Science and International Security found that a total of 49 countries were in violation of the United Nations Security Council instruction between March 2014 and September 2017. The report was released on Tuesday, months ahead of its scheduled release date, in response to Pyongyang’s latest missile test and subsequent comments from US Ambassador Nikki Haley calling for full implementation of the sanctions.

The findings indicate that North Korea “seeks to undermine international sanctions and the export control laws of other countries,” often exploiting countries with “weak or nonexistent export controls.”

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Thirteen governments were found to be involved in military-related cases of North Korean sanctions violations, including Angola, Cuba, Iran, Mozambique, Burma, Sri Lanka, Syria, Egypt and Uganda. “In some cases, these mostly undemocratic regimes received military training from North Korea; in others, they received or exported military-related equipment to or from North Korea,” the report said.

Pyongyang was found to prey on “those that suffer on average from more corruption than other countries.” All 13 of the nations found to have violated military sanctions also score poorly on the Corruption Perceptions Index, with all except two ranking in the bottom half of the index.


The North also uses deceptive measures in targeting countries with otherwise strong export controls. Nineteen countries – including Singapore, Malaysia, India, China, and Sri Lanka – were found to be involved in facilitating financial transactions or front companies.

Eighteen countries were involved in imports of sanctioned goods and minerals from North Korea. Those in the Asia Pacific region include China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. A number of these countries were also found to be complicit in “re-flagging” North Korean vessels to evade detection when trading these illicit goods.

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In response to the findings, the research group recommended international pressure to deter nations from cooperating with the rogue regime.

“The United States and Europe, in particular, should press every country engaged in military or sanctioned trade with North Korea to stop any such activities and deploy their own sanctions designations against those that fail to do so.”

They also called for increased inspection of shipments in those countries found to be in trade violations, as well as the expulsion of all North Korean military personnel in those that have engaged North Korea in arms trade and military training.

The report suggests that “punitive measures is an effective means to accelerate more compliant behaviour in the short term not only in these countries but among all countries that may do business with North Korea.”