UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs “remain intact” and its leaders are dispersing missile assembly and testing facilities to prevent “decapitation” strikes, U.N. experts said in a new report.
The experts’ report to the Security Council, seen Tuesday by The Associated Press, says the country continues to defy U.N. economic sanctions, including through “a massive increase in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products and coal.”
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the country’s official name — also continues to violate an arms embargo, a ban on luxury goods and financial sanctions, the experts said.
And the panel said it investigated “the DPRK’s sophisticated cyberattacks” against multiple countries “to evade financial sanctions.”
The report was sent to council members as U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. At their June summit in Singapore, Trump promised “security guarantees” to Pyongyang and Kim recommitted to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
But there were no signs in the experts’ report that Kim has taken any steps toward eliminating his nuclear arsenal or intercontinental ballistic missiles, which he boasted could reach the U.S. mainland.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs remain intact,” the experts said.
“The panel found that the DPRK is using civilian facilities, including airports, for ballistic missile assembly and testing with the goal of effectively preventing ‘decapitation’ strikes,” the report said. It also “found evidence of a consistent trend on the part of the DPRK to disperse the assembly, storage and testing locations.”
The experts said they are continuing to investigate companies, entities and individuals in Asia that are on the U.N. sanctions blacklist and “clandestinely procured centrifuges for the DPRK’s nuclear program.” The panel painted a picture of continuing wide-ranging efforts by North Korea to evade U.N. sanctions.
A huge increase in ship-to-ship transfers “render the latest United Nations sanctions ineffective by flouting the caps on the DPRK’s import of petroleum products and crude oil as well as the coal ban imposed in 2017 by the Security Council in response to the DPRK’s unprecedented nuclear and ballistic missile testing,” the experts said.