SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Dozens of nations have not completely upheld international sanctions imposed on North Korea, claimed a Washington-based think tank.
A total of 49 countries including China, Germany, Brazil, India, and France have violated United Nations Security Council between March 2014 and September 2017 "to varying degrees," the Institute for Science and International Security said in its report published on its website Tuesday (Dec 5).
North Korea "often cooperates with or otherwise exploits countries with weak or nonexistent export and proliferation financing controls", the report claimed. It added that countries with "high levels of corruption" are targeted.
The document pointed out that 13 countries on the list, including Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and Syria, have engaged in some form of military exchange with the rogue nation.
"In some cases, these mostly undemocratic regimes received military training from North Korea; in others, they received or exported military related equipment to or from North Korea," the report said.
All but five countries on the list have either supported North Korean front companies, also known as shell corporations, or import of sanctioned items. These firms which are often established by the North in offshore jurisdictions, are formed to evade UN sanctions and launder proceeds for its weapons program.
Twenty nations have been accused of disguising the national registration of North Korean ships, which is called an act of "re-flagging". This enabled the shipments to and from the isolated regime to reach their destinations.
The report comes amid the international community's widening support for the North Korean sanctions and China's shift in stance towards its implementation.
Following North Korea's sixth nuclear test in September, several nations have cut off diplomatic and economic ties with the North.
North Korean ambassadors to several countries in the Middle East, Europe, and South America have been expelled after the detonation.
China, North Korea's key trading partner, has also agreed to uphold the sanctions more strictly during US President Donald Trump's state visit to Beijing in November. Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is committed to cooperating with the US on a number of regional issues including North Korea.
North Korea's exports to China in October dropped 62 per cent on-year, amounting to about US$90 million (S$121 million), recent Chinese customs data showed. The figure also fell nearly 38 per cent compared to US$145.8 million in September.
Bloomberg said that data indicated China has blocked all imports of key trade items from the North, such as coal, iron, lead, aluminum, zinc or copper.
Despite skepticism surrounding the effectiveness of the sanctions, the think-tank's report highlighted the role of the US and European nations in convincing and pressing other countries to bring about North Korea's denuclearisation.
"The United States and Europe in particular should press every country engaged in military or sanctioned trade with North Korea to stop any such activities and deploy their own sanctions... against those that fail to do so," it added.