North Korea continuing with its nuke weapons programme: UN

A parade featuring weapons including intercontinental ballistic missiles during a ceremony in 2017 marking the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea's founding father Kim Il Sung.
A parade featuring weapons including intercontinental ballistic missiles during a ceremony in 2017 marking the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea's founding father Kim Il Sung.PHOTO: REUTERS

Pyongyang has likely developed devices to fit ballistic missiles

UNITED NATIONS • North Korea is pressing on with its nuclear weapons programme and several countries believe it has "probably developed miniaturised nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles", according to a confidential UN report.

The report by an independent panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions said the countries, which it did not identify, believed North Korea's past six nuclear tests had likely helped it develop miniaturised nuclear devices.

Pyongyang has not conducted a nuclear test since September 2017. The interim report, which was seen by Reuters, was submitted to the 15-member UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee on Monday.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is continuing its nuclear programme, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor.

"A member state assessed that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons," it said.

North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last week there would be no more war as the country's nuclear weapons guarantee its safety and future despite unabated outside pressure and military threats.

The UN report said one country, which it did not identify, assessed that North Korea "may seek to further develop miniaturisation in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements such as penetration aid packages or, potentially, to develop multiple warhead systems".

North Korea has been subjected to UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and the Security Council has steadily strengthened the sanctions in a bid to cut off funding for those programmes.

 
 
 

Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump have met three times since 2018, but failed to make progress on Washington's calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and North Korea's demands for an end to sanctions.

The UN experts also said North Korea is violating sanctions, including "through illicit maritime exports of coal, though it suspended these temporarily between late January and early March 2020" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, the UN experts said that North Korea had generated an estimated US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) using widespread and sophisticated cyber attacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

"The panel continues to assess that virtual asset service providers and virtual assets will continue to remain lucrative targets for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to generate revenue, as well as mining cryptocurrencies," the latest report said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2020, with the headline 'N. Korea continuing with its nuke weapons programme: UN'. Print Edition | Subscribe