October 01, 2020

UN: North Korea made 33 illegal coal shipments after lifting COVID-19 measures

The "majority" of coal gets transferred from Chongjin, Nampho and Taean ports to Chinese waters and buyers, report says

North Korean coal smugglers were able to make at least 33 shipments between late March and early May 2020, according to an unpublished United Nations Panel of Experts midterm report seen by NK News. The numbers corroborate previous reports that the DPRK quickly reactivated its coal shipping routes following a novel coronavirus-related pause at its ports in early 2020.

The U.N. Panel report alleges that the DPRK’s maritime quarantine lifted earlier than previously thought, with coal smuggling operations departing from the DPRK’s second-busiest port of Chongjin in late March. The report also states that ships at the busiest port, Nampho, largely stalled until late April. (Similarly, NK Pro previously estimated Nampho's quarantine lift to be around April 23 to April 25.)