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Report: North Korean coal exports made stop in South Korea in illicit trade

By Wooyoung Lee
Report: North Korean coal exports made stop in South Korea in illicit trade
Coal production at the Toksan Coal Mine at the Kangdong Area Coal Complex in North Korea. EPA/KCNA

SEOUL, July 17 (UPI) -- North Korea transshipped its coal exports at multiple ports outside the country, including South Korea, to conceal origins of its illicit trade, a report said.

Cargo ships containing North Korean coal arrived at two major South Korean ports in Incheon and Pohang in October, via the Russian port of Kholmsk, according to a June 27 U.N. report.

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The report, written by a panel of experts for the U.N. sanctions on North Korea, detailed illicit ship-to-ship transfers of coal between January and September last year. The probe found North Korea continued to export banned commodities, including coal, under the U.N. sanctions, generating approximately $200 million in revenue during the nine months.

The report, originally released in March, was revised last month to mark two South Korean ports as transit places, not final destinations of North Korean coal exports, according to VOA.

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Cargo vessels shipping North Korean coal departed at ports of Wonsan and Chongjin from July to September last year and arrived at the Russian port of Kholmsk. The coal exports were transshipped by Panamanian and Sierra Leone ships and arrived at South Korean ports in Incheon Oct. 2 and Pohang Oct. 11., respectively.

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The Sierra Leone vessel Rich Glory, which made a stop in Pohang, contained 5,000 tons of coal worth $325,000, according to the report.

The investigation found more than 30 cases of exports of coal from North Korea to Southeast Asian countries with fabricated paper documents stating its origins from China and Russia.

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The U.N. Security Council prohibited trades of North Korean commodities in its resolution 2371 adopted last year.

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