Report of the Panel of Experts on North Korea Established Pursuant to Resolution 1874 (2009)

June 14, 2012

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

During the period under review the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to reject and to violate Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). On 13 April 2012, in the face of the resolutions and of widespread international protest, it launched a rocket, following which the Security Council adopted a presidential statement strongly condemning the launch. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea responded by announcing that it will expand its nuclear programmes and continue launching satellites.

Member States did not report to the Committee any violations involving transfer of nuclear, other weapons of mass destruction-related or ballistic missile items, nor did they report on freezes of assets of entities and individuals designated by the Committee. They did report several other violations including illicit sales of arms and related materiel and luxury goods. The Panel investigated these newly reported incidents, previously reported incidents, and other possible violations. These cases provide ample evidence that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues actively to defy the measures in the resolutions. They also illustrate elaborate techniques to evade the vigilance of Member States. The Panel has studied in particular several interceptions of proscribed goods shipped to and from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The implementation of the sanctions continues to face serious challenges. It places burdens on Member States, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is adept at exploiting weak points. Fewer than half of Member States have submitted the required reports on their implementation of the resolutions to the Security Council. Nevertheless, although the resolutions have not caused the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to halt its banned activities, they appear to have slowed them and made illicit transactions significantly more difficult and expensive. On the basis of its studies, the Panel makes a series of recommendations for the more effective implementation of the measures in the resolutions. 


58. Recent media articles and academic papers have reported possible ongoing missile cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and other States, in particular Iran (Islamic Republic of) and the Syrian Arab Republic. The Panel can neither confirm nor deny any of this information, but notes that this would be consistent with reports of the long history of missile cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and these countries and with the Panel’s observations. As previously reported by the Panel, on 10 October 2010 the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea displayed a new warhead for its Nodong missile, which presented a strong similarity in design with the Iranian Shahab-3 triconic warhead. The Panel observes that the Unha rockets also present significant design similarities with Iranian space launch vehicles. The first stage of the Unha strongly resembles the Simorgh unveiled by the Islamic Republic of Iran early in 2010. Released video footages of the Unha-3 confirmed previous estimates that both S/2012/422 26 12-37610 are constituted of a cluster of four Nodong/Shahab-3 motors. While the composition of the Unha third stage cannot be determined with certainty, its width and shape also suggest that it is similar to the upper stage of the Safir which successfully inserted a small satellite into low-earth orbit in February 2009. As indicated in the previous paragraph, the Panel also observed that a shipment containing ballistic missilerelated items seized in 2007 contained Korean food and other items. This indicates a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea presence at the destination.