At the heart of the more than 200-page U.N. report—obtained by The New York Times—was an accusation that North Korea sent Syria supplies associated with the production of chemical weapons such as acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers as well as missile technology. North Korea also allegedly sent workers who allegedly assisted in the production of chemical weapons. In return, North Korea was able to invest the funds in its nuclear weapons program, according to the report.
The U.S. has charged Syria, as well as the jihadis it’s fighting, with the use of chemical weapons in multiple incidents that have reportedly resulted in civilian deaths. While Syria, along with Russia and Iran, has denied these accusations, the U.S. has led an international campaign to condemn Syria. On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attacked Russia for defending its Syrian and Iranian allies.
Syria has benefited from its relationship with Russia and Iran, but the new U.N. report focused on its long history of ties with North Korea, a fellow opponent of U.S. foreign policy considered a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department. Earlier this month, a group of independent U.N. monitors found more than 40 unreported North Korean exports between 2012 and 2017 to Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, a government body the report linked to Damascus’s chemical weapons program.
President Donald Trump has threatened the government of both countries with military action, but as other longtime U.S. foes such as Russia and Iran grew more powerful on the world stage, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have claimed major victories of their own in recent years.