Kim Jong-un’s secretive nation has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The US imposed sanctions back in 2017 following the launch of a ballistic missile from Pyongyang.
While the Security Council has steadily strengthened sanctions, UN monitors reported this year that North Korea continued to enhance its programmes last year.
Back in October last year, North Korea unveiled what appeared to be one of the world’s largest intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
In July, the Supreme leader said Pyongyang had developed nuclear weapons to win “absolute strength”.
He said the country was now “capable of defending ourselves… thanks to our reliable and effective self-defensive nuclear deterrent”.
But now an expert has warned if North Korea can build nuclear weapons with the sanctions imposed, any country can.
When asked whether nuclear weapons could be used in space, Professor Ram Jakhu told Express.co.uk: “I think there has to be reason for that.
“I don’t think anyone has the monopoly or the capability to do that yet.
“North Korea has the most extreme sanctions in the world.
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The complaint said: “China and Russia collectively have reported 106,094.17 barrels of refined petroleum product transfers… January through May.
“The official accounting of the DPRK’s imports castle under-represents the volume of refined petroleum products that actually enter the DPRK.”
The 43 countries also urged the committee to call on states to “immediately exercise enhanced vigilance regarding the DPRK attempting to procure additional refined petroleum products and to prevent illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to vessels owned, controlled, or acting on behalf of or working in cooperation with the DPRK.”
The complaint to the Security Council committee said: “If the DPRK is able to flagrantly evade international sanctions, it will have little incentive to engage in serious negotiations.”
Under the Trump administration, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump failed to make progress on US calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.
As it stands, North Korea has a military nuclear weapons arsenal of approximately 30 to 40 arms and enough production of fissile material for six to seven nuclear weapons a year.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Professor of International Relations at London’s Metropolitan University, Professor Andrew Moran said Joe Biden will have a big issue on his hands when he takes office next month.
He said: “North Korea will continue to be a big problem for the US.
“It is now a nuclear weapon state and will need to be contained.”
And President Biden may have no choice but to turn to China, the world’s second biggest power, when it comes to reigning in the Korean country.
Professor Moran added: “Biden may find he will have to ask for the support of China in achieving this as the US will not be able to do it on its own.”