Russia and China Reject U.N. Report on North Korean Sanctions Violations

Both countries benefit from Pyongyang's breach of sanctions

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping / Getty Images
September 29, 2020

China and Russia, which both benefit from North Korea's international sanctions violations, rejected the findings of a United Nations report on Pyongyang's breach of sanctions, the Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

The two countries, which are both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, said their council's findings on North Korea's violations are "based on assumptions and estimations."

Published in late August, the Security Council report documented several major economic and political areas where Pyongyang has ignored international law and punitive measures taken by the international community against the regime. Among its violations, North Korea has developed ballistic missiles, retained nuclear facilities, imported large quantities of refined petroleum, exported coal, and even imported luxury items like foreign automobiles and alcohol. 

Despite the international community's recent efforts to hold North Korea accountable for its malign behavior, both China and Russia continue to aid and abet the rogue state as strongman Kim Jong Un extends economic opportunities to both countries. North Korea has opened its waters for illegal fishing to fleets of Chinese boats, and North Korean government officials also likely paid Russian cybercriminals for financial hacking assistance. Seven teams of North Korean information technology technicians also accrued more than $1 million while working in both countries past the U.N. deadline for their repatriation, placing both Moscow and Beijing in violation of international sanctions.

In a more direct threat to American security, North Korea has also sent mixed messages on its weapons development this summer. Pyongyang, which froze its missile tests in April, appears to be developing new and improved weapons systems that would increase the range of the country's strike capacity. A possible transport vehicle for one such weapon, an intercontinental ballistic missile, was captured on satellite by an American security firm last week. Experts have voiced concern that North Korea may unveil the weapons systems next month during national parades.