North Korea imported far more refined oil in 2020 than the annual ceiling set by the United Nations sanctions allows, according to a report by an expert consulted by Agence France-Presse.
Pyongyang is allowed to import up to 500,000 barrels per year, but between January and the end of September last year, the internationally isolated North Korean regime imported petroleum products that “several times” exceeded this ceiling, according to a report issued by a group of experts presenting to the Security Council. To the United Nations.
Citing “Pictures, Data, and Accounts,” this new report alleges that at least 121 shipments of refined petroleum products – such as gasoline and diesel – were delivered to North Korea by tankers from an unnamed member state and others.
The shipments represent the latest by Pyongyang to circumvent an international embargo aimed at stopping the development of its weapons by stifling the revenues needed to keep its economy afloat.
Analysts say that despite a series of sanctions, including restrictions on oil imports by Pyongyang as well as bans on its exports of coal, fish and textiles, the country has continued to develop its arsenal of nuclear and ballistic missiles.
Nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington have stalled since the failed summit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump on sanctions relief and what North Korea might be prepared to do.
The UN Group of Experts also said that North Korea continued to produce fissile material – a key component of nuclear weapons – and “stole” more than $ 300 million in cryptocurrency through cyberattacks in order to support its banned nuclear programs.
“Pyongyang’s total theft of virtual assets from 2019 to November 2020 is estimated at $ 316.4 million,” the report said, citing a UN member state.