North Korea uses its overseas missions and shell companies as fronts for the illicit trade of weapons and materials related to nuclear and missile development, Kyodo News on Monday quoted a UN panel report as saying.
The report on North Korea's uranium enrichment program compiled in January by the UN Security Council's North Korea Sanctions Committee says the regime's uranium enrichment appears to be "primarily for military reasons or at least for dual use."
"If the Yongbyon uranium enrichment facility is operated to produce highly enriched uranium, it could make 25-33 kg of it, which would be sufficient for making one to two nuclear bombs per year," Kyodo quoted the report as saying.
The report claims that shell companies such as [North] Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation and Green Pine Associated Corporation are involved in the illicit arms trade. The report explains that the regime is involved in illicit trade of goods camouflaged as diplomatic cargoes, which are not subject to the usual customs inspection, through its overseas missions.
The regime failed in an attempt to "acquire ultrapure graphite concentrate processing capability, reported in June 2010, allegedly involving the country's chamber of commerce through a diplomatic mission." The North has also "established links with overseas criminal networks to transport and distribute smuggled cargos, including nuclear-related materials and components," the report says.
It says the expert panel "called on UN member states to provide information on companies and individuals suspected of being involved in illicit trade to add them to a list of those subject to sanctions."
The UNSC discussed in February whether to adopt the panel's report, but China opposed making it public, Kyodo said.