Foreign News

North Korea working to protect its nuclear missiles ahead of Trump summit, UN warns

North Korea is working to protect its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes despite a pledge by Kim Jong Un to dismantle them, according to a UN report.

A confidential document compiled for the UN Security Council (UNSC) has accused the North Korean leader of ignoring international sanctions designed to deter his regime from developing the devastating weaponry.

It comes as Mr Kim prepares for his second summit with US President Donald Trump, which is due to take place at the end of the month.

The location for the meeting is still to be announced but the US special envoy for North Korea will visit Pyongyang on Wednesday to prepare for the summit.

The UN report, seen by Reuters, states that Pyongyang “is using civilian facilities, including airports, for ballistic missile assembly and testing” to prevent so-called “decapitation strikes” on its manufacturing sites.

It says evidence has been found of North Korea attempting “to disperse its assembly, storage and testing locations” as part of a bid to maintain their secrecy.

Regarding sanctions imposed on the state by the UNSC, the memo accuses North Korea of defying them “through a massive increase in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products and coal”.

It cites evidence of an unprecedented prohibited petroleum product transfer of more than 57,600 barrels, worth more than $5.7m (£4.4m).

Among the other allegations are that North Korea is selling military equipment to groups and governments in the Middle East and Africa, and is continuing to import luxury goods despite being banned from doing so.

It says an investigation is under way into the public appearance of a relatively new Rolls-Royce Phantom limousine in the capital on 7 October, which usually sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

North Korea – which last year said it sought “peace” after destroying one of its nuclear test sites – has not responded to the claims in the 317-page document, which was submitted to the UNSC on Friday.

SINGAPORE - JUNE 12: In this handout photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) meets U.S. President Donald Trump during their historic U.S.-DPRK summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island on June 12, 2018 in Singapore. U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held the historic meeting between leaders of both countries on Tuesday morning in Singapore, carrying hopes to end decades of hostility and the threat of North Korea's nuclear program. (Photo by Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIM

In November, a US think tank said North Korea was hiding more than a dozen undeclared missile bases.

The US had been aiming to use the upcoming summit to try to further persuade Mr Kim to give up his nuclear ambitions, having confirmed that it would maintain sanctions on North Korea until denuclearisation was confirmed.

Mr Trump reached a vague agreement on the issue at his first meeting with Mr Kim in Singapore last summer, but little tangible progress has been made since.

The security council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

This has included the banning of coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood exports, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

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