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N Korea at crossroads

North Korean coal smuggling reveals lax sanctions enforcement

Shipments reportedly reach South Korea via Russia

Coal has traditionally been one of North Korea's most important income-producing exports. Front-end loaders move coal imported from North Korea in the Chinese border city of Dandong, Liaoning Province, in 2010.    © Reuters

SEOUL --  Reports that North Korea illegally exported coal to South Korea via Russia -- and Seoul's initial lack of action -- are raising new doubts about how effectively the international sanctions on the Kim Jong Un regime are being enforced.

The suspected smuggling formed part of the backdrop to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's call for vigilant sanctions enforcement at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

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