A new UN report suggests that North Korea has been using front companies to export nuclear and missile technology and has helped Iran, Syria and Myanmar, a Western diplomat said.
The findings were detailed in a report by UN experts charged with monitoring compliance with Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang, the diplomat said late on Thursday on condition of anonymity.
“The details in the report are not entirely surprising,” the diplomat said. “Basically it suggests that North Korea has exported nuclear and missile technology with the aid of front companies, middlemen and other ruses.”
“The point is that North Korea has been providing that kind of aid to Iran, Syria and Burma [Myanmar],” he said.
The diplomat said the evidence was preliminary and would need further investigation.
Western intelligence officials and diplomats have long suspected North Korea was providing banned technology to Iran, which the US and its allies suspect is developing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.
Tehran denies the charges and insists its nuclear ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.
Western spy agencies also have suspected that Myanmar was interested in acquiring nuclear technology from North Korea.
In 2007, Israel bombed what Western officials said was a Syrian nuclear reactor based on a North Korean design. Syria also denies being involved in clandestine nuclear activity.
Meanwhile, talks on shoring up the Non-Proliferation Treaty were on the brink of failure yesterday as the US and its allies clashed with Egypt over a push to pressure Israel to scrap any atom bombs it has. The 189 signatories of the treaty have been meeting in New York for a month.