Tensions skyrocket as North Korea tests explosive devices at nuclear site

North Koreans cheer missile launch in bizarre propaganda film

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According to Nikkei Asia, the report claims the tests “paves the way for additional nuclear tests for the development of nuclear weapons”. The report, which covers the first seven months of 2022, also outlines the tactics used by Pyongyang to dodge sanctions.

On Wednesday, it was submitted to the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee.

It will be released after discussion amongst the council’s permanent members has taken place.

North Korea has enhanced its capacity to produce fissile materials, a key component of nuclear weapons, and other explosive devices at its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Pyongyang is also excavating tunnels at Punggye-ri that were destroyed following denuclearisation talks with the US in 2018, the report claims.

According to a security council member, detonators that can be used in nuclear tests were being tested at Punggye-ri.

An analysis by two security council members argued that preparations for a nuclear test had entered their final stages in early June.

The report also argues that Pyongyang continues to engage in widespread hacking and other cyberattacks stealing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies.

These attacks came from Kimsuky, a hacking group controlled by North Korea’s surveillance agency. 

Tactics used by the group include vishing a phishing attack using voice calls along with malware attacks.

The report argues that North Korea is smuggling substantial amounts of refined petroleum products across its borders.

According to Pyongyang, imports from UN member countries up to July 27 came to just 8.15 percent of the annual limit of 500,000 barrels set in a UN Security Council resolution.

However, according to a source North Korea has actually bought in around 458,898 barrels which is close to the limit. 

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Pyongyang has also continued to export coal, defying a security council ban.

A study by an expert panel and UN members found that the secret Communist state has continued to unload coal shipments in China’s territorial waters.

North Korea has boosted its success in dealing with coronavirus based upon border closures and strictly enforced non pharmaceutical interventions which its claims have led to only 74 deaths, according to official figures.

However, the report argued that the UN sanctions have actually made the situation worse.

They said: “There can be little doubt that UN sanctions have unintentionally affected the humanitarian situation.”

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