A panel of United Nations experts said in a new report that North Korea has financed development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in part by launching cyberattacks.
The report, delivered to members of the U.N. Security Council on Monday, estimated Pyongyang has stolen about $316.4 million since 2019. The panel noted North Korean officials have also produced fissile material for nuclear weapons during the same period, The Associated Press reported.
North Korea “displayed new short-range, medium-range, submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missile systems at military parades,“ the report said. “It announced preparation for testing and production of new ballistic missile warheads and, development of tactical nuclear weapons … and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure.”
The report recommended sanctions on four North Koreans.
The experts further said the country has been able to launder stolen cryptocurrency into government-backed currency.
“Preliminary analysis, based on the attack vectors and subsequent efforts to launder the illicit proceeds strongly suggests links to [North Korea],” the report said, according to the AP.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed numerous sanctions on North Korea over the past 15 years to discourage nuclear development, but the report suggests Pyongyang has found ways to conduct “malicious cyber activities” and access financial channels from which it was supposedly cut off.
Over most of the last year, the country also had its borders sealed due to the coronavirus pandemic, cutting off even illicit access to goods, the AP noted.
Former President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy-backed Republican wins contested Texas House primary DHS grants temporary immigration status to all Ukrainians in the US Senate GOP shrugs off latest Trump revelation MORE developed a warm personal relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnBiden adopts play-it-cool strategy with Putin US, Japan, South Korea meet in Hawaii to discuss North Korea Trump still in contact with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un: book MORE and frequently expressed confidence in his intentions toward the U.S.
President BidenJoe BidenFire breaks out at major nuclear plant in Ukraine amid fighting Russia inflames political war over gas prices, oil drilling On The Money — Push to block Russian imports hits wall MORE, by contrast, has called the North Korean leader a “thug” and criticized his predecessor’s handling of U.S.-Korean relations.