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BBC : North Korea continuing nuclear programme - UN report


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A launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missilesImage copyright KCNA
Image caption North Korea carried out a series of long-range missile tests in 2017

North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programmes, violating UN sanctions, a report commissioned by the UN Security Council says.

It also says Pyongyang has resorted to a "massive increase" of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil products and has been trying to sell weapons abroad.

The confidential report by a panel of independent experts was submitted to the UN Security Council on Friday.

North Korea has so far not commented on the document's findings.

Last week, US officials said Pyongyang appeared to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with US President Donald Trump's administration and pledges to denuclearise.

Unnamed US officials told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuing activity at a site that has produced ballistic missiles.

President Trump met North Korea's Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June, and the two leaders then pledged to work towards denuclearisation, without specifying exactly what this would look like.

Pyongyang is currently under a range of international and US sanctions over its nuclear programme and missile tests.

What did the UN report say?

The document was prepared by the experts monitoring the implementation of the UN sanctions against North Korea.

It was seen by several media outlets early on Saturday.

The report said: "[North Korea] has not stopped its nuclear and missile programmes and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018."

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Media captionNukes, Trump Towers and human rights - what might peace look like between the US and North Korea?

It said that Pyongyang also "attempted to supply small arms and lights weapons and other military equipment via foreign intermediaries" to Libya, Yemen and Sudan.

The experts concluded that North Korea's activities had made financial sanctions ineffective.

The report came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was "optimistic" that North Korean denuclearisation could be achieved "in the timeline" - but without specifying when.

Speaking ahead of a summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in Singapore, he stressed that it was important to maintain "diplomatic and economic pressure" on North Korea to achieve "the final, fully verified denuclearisation".

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