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Report: U.N. Agency Was Helping North Korea With Patent Application For Nerve Gas Chemical

May 16, 2017

On Monday, Fox News reported that a United Nations agency in Geneva had been helping North Korea for more than a year to prepare an international patent application for the production of sodium cyanide. Sodium cyanide is a chemical used to make Tabun, a nerve gas, that has been banned from shipment to North Korea since 2006 by the U.N. Security Council.

Fox News found information about the application on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website and said that WIPO “has made no mention of the application to the Security Council committee monitoring North Korea sanctions, nor to the U.N. Panel of Experts that reports sanctions violations to the committee, even while concerns about North Korean weapons of mass destruction, and the willingness to use them, have been on a steep upward spiral.”

The information found on the WIPO website showed that North Korea started the process to obtain the international patent on November 1, 2015. A “status report” from May 14, 2017, shows “North Korean applicants’ fitness ‘to apply for and be granted a patent.’ ”

William Newcomb, a former member of the U.N. Panel of Experts, told Fox News that the news is “a disturbing development that should be of great concern to the U.S. administration and to Congress, as well as the U.S. Representative to U.N.”

An expert familiar with the sanctions regime told Fox News that this discovery “undermines sanctions to have this going on. The U.N. agencies involved should have been much more alert to checking these programs out.”