Sanctions against North Korea have not stopped it sourcing parts for its rockets from the UK, U.S. and even South Korea, according to a UN report.
The report says that the Unha-3 rockets were built using parts from the three countries, plus pieces of Russian scud missiles and off-the-shelf parts from China and Switzerland.
The majority of the parts did not contravene sanctions, according to the report, and their use “shows the ability of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to assemble complex systems with globally sourced components”.
The Unha-3 rocket is a major part of North Korea’s arsenal, and the closest it has come to developing a missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the American west coast.
The report, delivered by a panel of eight researchers on 10 March, says some of the parts are relatively easy to obtain computer components, but there are also temperature and pressure sensors that originate in the UK, and a video decoder made in the U.S.
The fact that most of the components can have many other uses makes imposing sanctions on them particularly difficult. Also, most were purchased through third-party transactions from resellers.
Speaking to NK News, North Korea sanctions specialist Joshua Stanton said that the penalties for U.S. citizens breaking North Korean sanctions are severe.
“Directly or indirectly exporting any ‘arms or related material,’ or any component meant for the use in North Korea’s missile programs, would violate Executive Order 13,551, and expose the violator to a prison term of 20 years and a fine of $1 million plus civil penalties.”