The US has designated several companies involved in helping North Korea evade sanctions and finance its WMD programs.

Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. and its Singapore-based affiliate Sinsms Pte. Ltd are the subjects of new sanctions. They are reported to have used falsified shipping documents to facilitate the shopping of  alcohol, tobacco and cigarette-related products to North Korea. The illicit cigarette trade alone is estimated to raise US$1 billion per year for North Korea, money that is used to finance the country’s WMD program.

Analysis: The North Korean regime uses a variety of methods to evade sanctions and raise money for its illicit programs, including the export of coal through Russia, cryptocurrency theft, and probably many other smaller schemes. However, Russia and China play a critical role in facilitating this activity; without these two willing partners, the DPRK would have a significantly harder time financing its activities.