North Korea aims to expand illegal trade network

North Korea aims to expand illegal trade network

North Korea aims to expand illegal trade network

On Tuesday, U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington has had concerns about North Korea's trade ties with Syria for some time, "especially as North Korea becomes more desperate, they look for different, creative, and horrific ways to try to make money to fund their criminal regime".

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson has previously referred to Pyongyang's use of chemical weapons, telling reporters in January: "We know they've been used by the North Koreans".

The notice also included five sanctions which would typically accompany such an announcement, including cutting foreign and financial aid, ending military support and export restrictions on sensitive goods.

North Korea on Thursday denied reports that it is helping Syria build chemical weapons, the Korean Central News Agency reported on Friday.

North Korea has been under stringent United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, with the Security Council has scrutinizing the measures in response to Pyongyang's sixth nuclear weapons test and several long-range missile launches.

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"The Panel's investigations ... showed further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons (CW) programs", the yet to be released PoE report reads.

Despite the denials, North Korea remains one of the only countries not signed to the Chemical Weapons Convention which outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.

North Korea denied it was cooperating with Syria on chemical weapons.

The report added that North Korean technicians had also been identified working at chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

But Pyongyang is widely suspected of having an arsenal of chemical agents at its disposal, and was accused of using the toxic nerve agent VX to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at an airport in Malaysia previous year.

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