North Korea has approached at least eleven United Nations (UN) Security Council officials in recent months in an attempt to spy on them, reports Japanese business newspaper Nikkei Asian Review , based on a draft report.

The targets are said to have been accessed via Gmail and WhatsApp in an attempt to extract information from them. The North Koreans would have pretended to be someone else and personally addressed the intended victims. It is unclear whether the attack was successful.

According to the Nikkei , the information in a report is intended for the UN Sanctions Committee dealing with North Korea. This committee was set up in 2006. In that year, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.

According to the Japanese business newspaper, the report describes more broadly how North Korea tries to circumvent sanctions. For example, since May 7, at least 32 coal ships would have illegally left North Korean ports.

United Nations members are not allowed to purchase coal or other raw materials from North Korea. In addition, the Committee also seeks to curtail trade in, inter alia, arms and equipment for the nuclear program of North Korea through sanctions.

The final report of the expert panel is expected to be published in a few weeks. This panel supports the Sanctions Committee in its work.