According to a confidential UN report, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs advanced over the course of 2019, despite the continuation of heavy sanctions. The UN Security Council North Korea Sanctions Committee’s report, which is scheduled to be released publicly in March 2020, reported that North Korea accomplished these goals through, in part, illicit trade of commodities like refined petroleum and coal, which it carries out using a variety of sanctions evasions measures. GRI reported on the DPRK’s many sanctions evasion tactics just last month – click here to read our full insight on the topic.
The Committee’s report further stated that North Korea completed launched at least 25 missiles last year over the course of 13 missile tests. As a result, the US, France, and the UK continue to maintain that it would not be appropriate to consider lifting sanctions against North Korea, despite reports that sanctions have adverse effects on the country’s humanitarian situation and on aid operations. For its part, North Korea has stated that it does not consider itself to be bound by its prior commitment to halt nuclear and missile testing.