Customs Today on 6th August carried a report saying that Russia engaged in more extensive oil exports to North Korea than had been previously reported, by setting up an illicit trade network that is likely still being used today to evade UN sanctions, according to ASAN Institute for Policy Studies, a South Korean research organisation. The report claimed that one North Korean state enterprise purchased 622,878 tons of Russian oil worth $238 million between 2015 and 2017. The report comes amid allegations that Russia potentially violated international sanctions by granting thousands of new work permits to North Korean laborers, but it had denied this.
The report: The Rise of Phantom Traders, is available at –
It says that North Korea’s use of foreign enablers has allowed them to continue to evade sanctions and acquire the oil that they need to keep the economy afloat. A Russian oil producer and exporter, Independent Petroleum Company (IPC), has allowed millions of dollars’ worth of oil to flow into North Korea both over land and over sea from Vladivostok and other nearby ports. It also implicates Taipei-based Pro-Gain Group Corporation (PGGC), which is owned by a Taiwanese national, and that PGGC also owned a Panamanian-flagged ship that exhibited suspicious behaviour and is managed by Victory International Ship Management (Dalian) Co Ltd, whose owner is a Chinese citizen. Zhou Shengli. It also concludes that it is relatively simple for companies to falsify records that conceal the intended destination or purchaser of resources that the North Korean regime needs to survive and to continue to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.