North Korea still making nuclear weapons despite economy suffering major hit

North Korea is continuing to make nuclear and ballistic missiles despite its worsening economic situation, confirms a United Nations report.

The UN's panel of North Korea experts have been investigating developments in Kim Jong-un's rogue nation over recent months.

Despite the UN security council prohibiting North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles, and the fact that UN sanctions are creating economic hardship, the report published on Monday found that the country is continuing as per usual.

It read: "During the reporting period, despite the country's focus on its worsening economic travails, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea continued to maintain and develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs."

The report is dated September 8 and did not find that North Korea had tested intercontinental missiles during the investigation period.

However, it noted that the North had staged short-range missile testing "combining ballistic and guidance technologies". Two short-range ballistic missiles were tested in March.

The experts also said that North Korea continues to seek material and technologies in relation to its weapons programs.

This comes after Kim Jong-un launched two long-range ballistic missiles on September 15, after the UN's investigation had finished.

Later in the month a new hypersonic missile was tested, again launched into the sea and falling narrowly outside of Japan's territorial waters. Hypersonic missiles such as this one, named Hwasong-8, are harder to detect than normal ballistic missiles.

The country also showcased new long-range anti-aircraft weaponry last week, and today there are new reports of a ship carrying an anti-aircraft missile sailing into Japan's territorial water.

The North managed all of this despite prohibited exports such as coal continuing at a "much-reduced level" and imports of oil falling dramatically during the investigation period, stated the report.

It also said that Kim Jong-un is managing to avoid the wrath of even more U.N sanctions by using clever workarounds regarding the ownership of the vessels used in any questionable activities.

The report added: "Access by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to international financial institutions continued, as did the presence overseas of its workers earning revenue for use in State programs."

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