North Korea Hunts for Missile Materials

A South Korean newspaper asserted yesterday that the North has been using fraudulent documents to illegally obtain materials for its missile program, according to Agence France-Presse (see GSN, June 22).

Seoul has acquired proof that WMD-relevant goods are being smuggled to North Korea by way of China and other nations, anonymous government officials told the Munhwa Ilbo.

“North Korea has smuggled commodities related to weapons of mass destruction banned by the international community and luxury goods through detour routes such as China, Japan, Mongolia and Russia,” the newspaper stated.

Pyongyang has become increasingly innovative in finding ways to skirt international sanctions aimed at curbing its missile and nuclear-weapon operations, the paper said. U.N Security Council sanctions passed in 2009 in the wake of North Korea’s second atomic test prohibit all commerce tied to the nuclear program and bar the export of luxury products to the isolated and impoverished nation.

South Korea has learned that a Chinese firm forged documents for the sale of measuring technology to the North this spring, the Munhwa Ilbo reported. The technology can be employed for missile and long-range rocket firings.

A North Korean extended-range rocket test in 2009 is believed to have featured U.S. measuring technology, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Pyongyang this year has also acquired equipment for missile firings, the news service reported.

Additionally, two Japanese merchants were discovered in June trying to transport to North Korea digging equipment that could be put to use as a missile launch platform.

The Stalinist state prefers to use Russia and Mongolia for transporting illegal goods due to heightened restrictions in China, the Munwha Ilbo reported (Agence France-Presse/Khaleej Times, Aug. 19).
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