• Kyodo


North Korea has been scheming to trade goods restricted by U.N. sanctions via Russia at a time when countries have strengthened measures to squeeze trade with Pyongyang to halt its missile and nuclear programs, sources close to the matter said Sunday.

Pyongyang has allegedly falsified documents and disguised its trade with Russia as that between Russia and China as a way to continue international trade of goods, including textiles and gasoline that are banned or restricted under sanctions imposed by a U.N. Security Council resolution.

A bill of landing of the North Korean cargo and passenger boat Mangyongbong that arrived at Vladivostok in the Russian Far East from Rason in northeastern North Korea in mid-October said a Russian company in Cheboksary, central Russia, imported 5 tons of North Korean-made garments via Vladivostok from a North Korean trade company.

But the president of the Russian company denied it had imported any goods from North Korea, saying its name was fraudulently used. It remains unclear where the garments went after arriving in Vladivostok.

The U.N. Security Council in September prohibited North Korea from exporting textiles, but allowed up to 90 days for trades that have already been contracted.

A document obtained by Kyodo News and a source close to the matter also revealed that North Korea has tried to illegally import gasoline, which the country is said to be desperately in need of, via Russia.

A North Korean company told a Russian broker in September that it will buy 10,000 tons of gasoline annually and requested to have it transported to Rason from Omsk in central Russia by rail, the document and the source said.

In an apparent attempt to stave off the sanctions, the North Korean company asked the Russian broker to write on a transaction document that the gasoline was exported to a Chinese company and to settle the accounts by cash rather than bank transactions.

A source close to Russia-North Korea trade said Pyongyang is trying to establish new routes to import gasoline through Russia as it has become harder through China, which has tightened its squeeze on its trade with North Korea.

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