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North Korea’s nuke program ‘delayed’ after U.N. sanctions

Published: Updated:

North Korea is still trying to import and export nuclear and ballistic missile-related material but financial and trade sanctions are slowing progress on their prohibited weapons programs, a U.N. expert panel said in a report.

Key parts of the report, obtained Friday by the Associated Press, provide further information on North Korea's attempts to evade four rounds of increasingly tough U.N. sanctions aimed at reining in its development of nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.

While the imposition of sanctions has not halted these programs, the panel said, "it has in all likelihood considerably delayed the (North's) timetable and ... choked off significant funding."

The report to the U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea recommends imposing sanctions on four North Korean companies and 11 individuals.

Earlier this month, the North Korean army threatened of an immediate retaliatory strike if “a single shell” falls on its side of the disputed maritime border during scheduled South Korean-U.S. military drills.

A statement from the southwestern command of the Korean People’s Army said that any subsequent counterstrike would trigger an escalated military reaction that would see South Korea's border islands engulfed in a "sea of flames."

South Korean live-artillery exercises near the Yellow Sea border were an attempt to tip prevailing military tensions into an "actual war," said the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea moved two missiles primed for imminent test firing from a launch site, American officials said Monday, as North Asia tensions eased slightly on the eve of a U.S.-South Korea summit.

U.S. and South Korean officials had been worried Pyongyang would heighten a cycle of provocation, which has included threats of nuclear war, by firing the Musudan missiles, which have a range of up to 5,630 kilometers.