EXCLUSIVE: Financial sanctions delay North Korea's atom bomb work - U.N.

UNITED NATIONS Wed May 15, 2013 4:48am IST

A North Korean flag flutters on top of a tower at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom, just south of the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas, in Paju, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

A North Korean flag flutters on top of a tower at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom, just south of the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas, in Paju, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul April 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A combination of increasingly tough financial sanctions, an arms embargo and other international restrictions on trade with North Korea have not stopped Pyongyang's illicit nuclear arms program but appear to have significantly delayed it, according to a confidential report by a U.N. panel of experts seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

"While the imposition of sanctions has not halted the development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, it has in all likelihood considerably delayed (North Korea's) timetable and, through the imposition of financial sanctions and the bans on the trade in weapons, has choked off significant funding which would have been channeled into its prohibited activities," said the 52-page report said.

In the report to the U.N. Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, the panel also recommended sanctioning three North Korean entities and 12 individuals.

The individuals listed were nine North Korean nationals, a man from Kazakhstan and two men from Ukraine, all due to their links to arms-smuggling deals, the report said.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols. Editing by Christopher Wilson)

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