SEOUL - Tough financial sanctions and an arms embargo have significantly delayed expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arms programme, according to a confidential UN report seen by the Reuters news agency.
The latest annual report by the UN sanctions-monitoring group comes as the US seeks to persuade China that applying economic and other sanctions against its neighbour is crucial to halting the programme.
“While the imposition of sanctions has not halted the development of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, it has in all likelihood considerably delayed [North Korea’s] timetable and, through the imposition of financial sanctions and the bans on the trade in weapons, has choked off significant funding which would have been channelled into its prohibited activities,” the report said.
Diplomats said the 52-page document covers the period up through to last month, so it was too early to measure the effect of the latest round of UN sanctions adopted in March.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Seoul, said that the new report contradicts the claims made by North Korea of success during their third nuclear test.
Fawcett said that the study contains slightly stronger wording than the previous report in 2012, where it said the banned activities by North Korea appeared to have been slowed.
In the report to the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee, the panel also recommended sanctioning three North Korean entities and 12 individuals.
The three entities the panel said should be blacklisted are the newly created Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry, the Munitions Industry Department of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party (KWP), and the State Space Development Bureau.
The individuals the panel wants sanctioned include the atomic energy industry minister, once he is nominated, and four senior officials at the KWP Munitions Industry Department.