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A mountain of North Korean coal piled up on one side of the barrier in Rajin harbour. Photo: ED JONES / AFP / Getty Images

Despite sanctions, North Korean coal has made its way to the international market, including in South Korea and Japan, through a deceptive process that involves falsified documents and the cooperation of officials and businesses in at least three countries, The Washington Post reports, citing records produced by investigators and U.N. experts.

At a glance: In August and September of last year, at least four ships dumped North Korean coal at a harbor in Russia before six other vessels arrived to transport both Russian and North Korean coal to foreign markets, the Post reports.

Why it matters, per the Post: "It was hardly the first time that North Korea has used subterfuge to fool its adversaries and flout international trade restrictions. But independent analysts say the movement of coal through Russia’s Kholmsk port last year was remarkable, because of the timing — it came just as the U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on the sale of North Korean coal — and because of the ruse’s elaborate, multilayered deceptions."

The backdrop: This revelation further underscores why the Trump administration slapped new, heightened economic sanctions last month on North Korea-related shipping in an attempt to curtail the country's revenue sources, used to fund nuclear and military programs. The sanctions target 27 entities, 28 vessels and one individuals all involved in sanction evasion schemes.

Go deeper with the Washington Post report.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

50 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

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