UN report reveals North Korea has not halted the nuclear program; Pompeo still optimistic

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A report compiled by independent experts over a duration of six months was presented in front of Security Council North Korea Sanction Committee. The report revealed that North Korea has continued with the Research and Development of nuclear and ballistic programs despite the pledges its leader Kim Jong Un has been making since the start of this year. “(North Korea) has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs 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,” the experts wrote in the 149-page report.

North Korea is facing economic sanctions since 2006 which have barred the country from exports and imports but it has continued to carry on illegal trade. Other shocking assertions made in the report were the alleged military compliance of North Korea with Syria and Houthi Rebels. As per the report, North Korean technicians engaged in ballistic missile and other banned activities have visited Syria in 2011, 2016 and 2017.

North Korea and Iran, the handler of Houthi rebels, share a history of covert nuclear cooperation and it is likely that North Korea is providing weaponry to Houthi rebels upon Iran’s discretion. It is going to get more difficult of North Korea to earn the trust of international community especially after such daunting breach of sanctions imposed against it.

There have also been indications of a meeting between North Koran officials and Houthi rebels in Damascus. All these allegations are coming at a time when both Russia and China are advocating for an ease of economic sanctions so that the requisite confidence could be built for the long-term purpose of denuclearization in Koran peninsula.

On the other hand, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is still optimistic that the process of denuclearization will be achieved within the timeframe which leaders of both countries agreed upon. It is important to mention here that before the above-mentioned report surfaced, it was the U.S satellites which detected the intriguing activity at one of the ballistic missile sites of North Korea.

Read more: Economically vanquished North Korea celebrates becoming a ‘nuclear state’

Mike Pompeo in response to these revelations said the United States was aware that North Korea is not fully complying with the commitments it made but hopes are still alive. Right now, the Security Council seems to be divided on the matter of economic sanctions over North Korea. Except for Russia and China, rest of the permanent members want the strict implementations of the already enacted sanctions.

Following the report which is compiled by independent experts, it will become difficult for both Russia and China to advocate from losing the economic noose. It has been repeatedly revealed over the last decade that both these countries, Russia and China, have not completely abided with the international community over the issue of mutual trade with North Korea.

The report revealed that North Korea has continued with the Research and Development of nuclear and ballistic programs despite the pledges its leader Kim Jong Un has been making since the start of this year.

During the Foreign Ministers conference of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), U.S Secretary of State accused Russia of providing thousands of work visas for North Korean Nationals which is a potential breach of the economic sanctions. Most significant and revealing aspect which the report points at is the purported collusion of Houthi rebels of Yemen and North Korea. At first, a direct connection between the two seems missing.

But both North Korea and Iran, the handler of Houthi rebels, share a history of covert nuclear cooperation and it is likely that North Korea is providing weaponry to Houthi rebels upon Iran’s discretion. It is going to get more difficult of North Korea to earn the trust of international community especially after such daunting breach of sanctions imposed against it. The sanctions which were originally imposed to curb the much-needed finance to carry out nuclear and ballistic research is undermined by the deceptive and illicit trade between North Korea and few other countries.

Read more: North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons

The fact that North Korea is already capable enough with its nuclear and ballistic program makes current activities quite counterproductive for the long-term plan of economic development which Kim Jong Un now is aiming at. Looking at what the United States is up to vis-à-vis Iran, it is very likely that more strict economic sanctions could be enacted for North Korea and every other country which continues to trade with it.

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