North Korea continuing nuclear, missile programme despite talks with Trump- UN report

The confidential UN report that North Korea appeared to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with US President Donald Trump’s administration and pledges to denuclearise.

The panel of experts said North Korea attempted to sell small arms and light weapons and other military equipment via foreign intermediaries, including Syrian arms traffickers in the case of Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen as well as Libya and Sudan.

The report also said North Korea has continued military co-operation with Syria, in breach of sanctions.

The six-month report by independent experts monitoring the implementation of UN sanctions was submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee late on Friday.

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

Speaking ahead of a summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in Singapore, he said: “The work has begun. The process of achieving denuclearisation of the [Korean] peninsula is one that I think we have all known would take some time.”

The United States said last month that North Korea is illegally smuggling refined petroleum products into the country beyond the quota of 500,000 barrels per year allowed under UN sanctions.

US documents sent to the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea cite 89 instances between January 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely delivered refined products “illicitly procured” via ship-to-ship transfers.

Mr Pompeo said. “I want to remind every nation that has supported these resolutions that this is a serious issue and something that we will discuss with Moscow.

“We expect the Russians and all countries to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and enforce sanctions on North Korea,”

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