US hits Russian bank with sanctions for N.Korea-related activity

Lester Mason
August 4, 2018

The Wall Street Journal, citing Russian interior ministry figures, said that more than 10,000 new North Korean workers had registered in Russia since a ban last September meant to encourage North Korea to curb its nuclear programme.

The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for a comment.

Pyongyang also violated a textile ban by exporting more than $100 million in goods between October 2017 and March 2018 to China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay, the report said.

Independent experts monitoring the implementation of UN sanctions over the past six months submitted the report to the UN Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee late on Friday in the US.

"[North Korea] has not stopped its nuclear and missile programmes and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018", it said. -North Korea summit in Singapore, flew back to the city-state and suggested that continued work on weapons programs by North Korea was inconsistent with its leader's commitment to denuclearization.

The experts said ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, oil and coal involve "increasingly sophisticated evasion techniques".

IPC was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in June 2017 over its trade with North Korea, and in December 2017 the United Nations imposed its strictest limits on North Korean imports to date.

These include turning off Automatic Identification Systems, which are required to be on at all times under worldwide regulations, physically disguising North Korean tankers, using small unregistered vessels, illegally changing names, carrying out night transfers and using additional vessels to trans-ship cargo, the report said.

The United Nations and the U.S. had already previously designated Han and the FTB, and OFAC called for the expulsion of both Han and Ri. They said North Korean technicians engaged in ballistic missile and other banned activities have visited Syria in 2011, 2016 and 2017.

In the report the experts heavily criticised North Korea's "deceptive practices", saying they were systematically undermining the effectiveness of financial sanctions.

The report came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was "optimistic" that North Korean denuclearisation could be achieved.

Labour Ministry records obtained by the Journal showed that a minimum of 700 new work permits had been issued to North Koreans in Russian Federation this year, the paper said. Su and Won should have been expelled from Russian Federation under rules prescribed by the UN.

It also raises further questions about the extent to which North Korea's larger neighbours, including its biggest trading partner, China, are willing to keep up enforcement of US -led global sanctions on Pyongyang.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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