North Korean smugglers disguised under Pacific island flags

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North Korea


Joe Byrne, a research fellow with the Royal United Services Institute in London, said Pyongyang was constantly plotting new ways to conceal "illicit operations". While shipments of coal or oil might seem relatively harmless, Byrne said these helped fuel the country's military ambitions and weapons programmes. "Whether it's revenue generation from exports of coal, or keeping its missile launchers on the road with imported oil, North Korea's sanctions evasion is directly linked to its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program," Byrne told AFP.