A North Korean machine manufacturer that is subject to U.N. sanctions appears to be doing business illegally through front companies in China and Russia.
Researchers with the U.S.-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies say their findings reflect the ineffectiveness of international sanctions aimed at slowing North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
The Security Council last year imposed sanctions on the Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation, which produces parts used in the North's missiles and uranium enrichment centrifuges. The sanctions require U.N. member states to freeze the assets of Ryonha and any companies acting on its behalf.
But in a report Tuesday, the researchers said the company has remained active internationally. In particular, the report said a Chinese business called Suzhou Weihan CNC Technology and a Russian company called Koryo Technologies were marketing Ryonha products.
The Chinese and Russian companies appear to have done little to hide their connection to the blacklisted company, openly posting pictures of a Ryonha factory and equipment on their websites. Some of the pictures even featured North Korean state media logos.
The pictures were found via a simple Google image search, raising questions about why the apparent violation of U.N. sanctions was not found earlier.
Jeffrey Lewis, the report's co-author, said it is incumbent on Russia and China to do "a lot more" to find these companies, and added sanctions against Pyongyang are not going to work if they are enforced so poorly.
North Korea is subject to a series of international sanctions because of its nuclear and missile programs, which it has used to threaten its neighbors. Pyongyang says the programs are necessary in order to fend off what it sees as U.S. aggression on the Korean peninsula.