North Korea Developed Nuclear, Weapon Programs

( North Korean operatives stole hundreds of millions of dollars by hacking, using that money to fund a ballistic missile and nuclear program throughout almost all of 2020.

A confidential report from the United Nations released that information this week. The country is in violation of international law for those actions.

The UN document accused North Korea, led by Kim Jong Un, of conducting “operations against financial institutions and virtual currency exchange houses” as a way to fund weapons as well as keep the country’s economy afloat.

An unnamed country that’s part of the United Nations said hackers stole virtual assets valued at $316.4 million between 2019 and November of 2020, the document says.

The UN report also said North Korea “produce fissile material, maintained nuclear facilities and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure.” They also continued “to seek material and technology for these programs from overseas.”

This report is produced annually and given to the North Korea sanctions committee of the United Nations’ Security Council.

On Monday, officials at America’s State Department said the Biden administration was planning a new approach to the dictatorship country that would include a full review with American allies “on ongoing pressure options and the potential for any future diplomacy.”

In 2018 and 2019, former President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong Un three times. The two didn’t make any progress on the United States calling for Pyongyang to do away with their nuclear weapons. North Korea also made demands, asking for the sanctions against the country to end.

The recent UN report, though, said North Korea has done anything but give up its weapons or its development of them. At military parades, the country displayed their new ballistic missile systems, including those that were short range, medium range, submarine-launched as well as intercontinental.

In 2020, North Korea didn’t conduct any ballistic missile or nuclear weapon tests, but they “announced preparation for testing and production of new ballistic missile war heads and development of tactical nuclear weapons.”

Since 2006, North Korea has been subjected to sanctions from the United Nations. The Security Council has been strengthen in recent years, with its 15 members working to cut off funding for the country’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

In 2019, sanctions monitors at the United Nations said North Korea earned more than $370 million by exporting coal. That is banned under the UN sanctions. Those shipments did apparently stop altogether in July of last year, though.

Still, Kim said his country would continue to work on developing more advanced weapons for both its missile and nuclear programs. Despite the rapport that Kim apparently developed with Trump, Kim said the advanced warheads would be designed to penetrate any missile defense systems as a way to deter the United States.

The strict border controls put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly affected North Korea’s ability to bring in money from outside countries. That forced the country to turn to other sources of income, such as the hacking that apparently went on.