North Korea has been testing a whole range of missiles, and the U.N. has imposed sanctions to check these activities. That was to ensure the blocking of funds for its missile programs. The world wanted it to abandon the development of missiles because that could affect the stability of the Korean Peninsula.

However, the North continued to test the weapons at regular intervals. The source of funds was a mystery. During his tenure as President of the United States, Donald Trump tried to evolve a diplomatic solution. He brought Kim Jong-un to the table for discussion.

They had more than one meeting beginning with Singapore, then at Hanoi, and finally at the DMZ. However, the two leaders could not agree.

The U.N. has now cleared the mystery and revealed the source of finance. It is through stolen cryptocurrency worth millions of dollars. Cyber-attackers stole the digital assets between 2020 and mid-2021. These attacks targeted cryptocurrency exchanges in different parts of the world. The results were funds for nuclear and ballistic missile programs of the hermit kingdom. Recently, North Korea launched an IRBM that could reach the U.S. base at Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea resorted to cyberattacks for its funds

The U.N.'s sanctions committee has received the findings.

A firm that handles cyber security suggests in a study that the digital assets stolen by North Korea last year could have been worth $400m. In 2019, the U.N. reported that Pyongyang had laid its hands on an estimated $2bn. It was to finance programs related to weapons of mass destruction.

There is a U.N. Security Council ban on North Korea.

The ban covers conducting nuclear tests and launching ballistic missiles. However, in spite of sanctions, the country has not abandoned its activities that pertain to developing its infrastructure. The reactivation of nuclear facilities by the North could mean unrest in the world.

China and Russia do not condemn the missile launches by North Korea

The U.S. mentioned multiple missile tests by Pyongyang last month. Those who monitor the sanctions admit there had been an acceleration of missile testing by North Korea. They have also noted that the tests cover various parameters. Incidentally, China and Russia did not condemn the missile launches.

The U.S. wants to discuss the situation with its allies, Japan and South Korea. The BBC draws attention to the humanitarian situation in the North. It was deteriorating. Its decision to close the borders during the pandemic could be a factor because the border was with China, it's ally and business partner. As such, the closure of the border hit its economy hard.

Given the country's secretive nature, it isn't easy to get an accurate picture of the ground realities, and one has to rely on sources that might not always be reliable.

To evade international sanctions, North Korea went in for Bitcoin thefts since 2017

According to Sky News, since 2017, there have been reports that linked North Korea to Bitcoin thefts. The country used it to bypass international sanctions. That is how it could fund its missile program despite international sanctions. This year, the North launched seven suspected ballistic missiles. The latest one flew for 30 minutes, reached an altitude of 1240 miles, and traveled nearly 500 miles.

In 2019 the U.N. reported that Pyongyang had acquired substantial funds for its nuclear and missiles programs, ignoring the economic sanctions.

During the New Year speech, Kim Jong-un urged the country to bolster its military capabilities. Since then, the North has conducted several missiles launches. There was a range of missiles, and sophistication was evident.