United Nations links North Korea to Syria's chemical weapon program


It agreed to give up its chemical weapons stock to global investigators after a sarin attack in eastern Ghouta in 2013 which killed hundreds of people - widely believed to be the worst chemical incident in modern history.

North Korea reportedly sent materials to Syria to be used for a chemical weapons facility, according to experts from the UN.

The U.N. report also laid out the details of how North Korea is able to evade worldwide sanctions by employing a complex web of shell companies and a network of sympathetic individuals in foreign countries that provide access to financing. Yet now evidence has emerged that Pyongyang is also an exporter of death, supplying components and know-how for chemical weapons used by Syria against children cowering in the bombed-out remnants of Damascus.

Suspected chlorine gas attacks have been recently reported in Syria, including on Sunday in the Eastern Ghouta, a besieged rebel-held enclave near the capital Damascus.

William Newcomb, chair of the panel from 2011 to 2014, called the report "an important breakthrough". North Korean missile technicians have been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities in Syria, said the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea's compliance with United Nations sanctions.

One UN diplomat told CNN, on one of these visits the North Korean missile technicians were housed in Syrian military facilities.

Five of the illegal shipments between Pyongyang and Damascus are said to have been made via a Chinese shipping company, Cheng Tong Trading Co. Accusing Damascus, the U.S. then launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, taking the lives of about 20 people including both Syrian soldiers and civilians. The shipments included acid-resistant tiles of a quantity that could cover a large-scale industrial plant.

Rick Nash traded to the Boston Bruins
It's a hefty price to pay for Nash, but he's one of the most consistent goal scorers in the National Hockey League . Teams that have missed out on the Nash sweepstakes are probably going to start looking at Buffalo for Kane.

While the seized items "do not appear on any control lists", they included "materials that can be used to build bricks for the interior walls of [a] chemical factory", the report noted.

The report - also seen by the Washington Post - was compiled by the UN Panel of Experts which assesses North Korea's compliance with UN resolutions.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is further investigating the attacks. Both episodes were reported to the United Nations panel by unidentified United Nations personnel.

North Korea is under heavy global and USA sanctions for its development of nuclear weapons and a missile system that could deliver a warhead to much of the globe.

Syria has periodically sought to appease the global community on the subject of chemical weapons.

As for Myanmar, the panel said an unnamed member state reported that its Directorate of Defense Industries "maintains a sophisticated global procurement network" and "is seeking equipment from overseas suppliers for its DPRK-linked missile program".

In 2015, Myanmar told the United Nations that it had only "normal diplomatic ties" with North Korea. And on January 24, 2018, the panel said "Myanmar added that it was investigating the panel's latest request for information".