SEOUL – Three South Korean firms illegally imported coal and iron worth over $5.5 million from North Korea last year, in violation of United Nations-imposed sanctions on Pyongyang for its weapons tests.
The three companies imported goods worth 6.6 billion won ($5.8 million) between April and October 2017, according to Korea Customs Service (KCS) on Friday.
The firms used a Russian port as stopover and falsified the country of origin of the goods, the customs authorities said.
KCS said the companies were trying to capitalize on North Korean coal, which is available at lower than the market rate.
Resolution 2371 of the UN Security Council has since August 2017 completely banned North Korea from exporting its minerals – which makes up the largest chunk of its exports – over Pyongyang’s intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
The KCS announcement comes after the South Korean government announced last month that it was investigating several foreign boats for allegedly bringing North Korean coal into the country, and transferring crude oil to North Korean boats in high seas, banned under UN resolution 2397 since December.