Wed, May 18, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Beijing downplays UN report on North Korea missile deals


China downplayed a UN report saying North Korea remains “actively engaged” in exporting ballistic missiles, components and technology to numerous customers in the Middle East, saying yesterday that it was not an official Security Council report.

The report said North Korea was exporting missiles and technology in violation of UN sanctions. Diplomats say the shipments were going through China.

The report by a seven-member panel that monitors the sanctions was submitted to the UN Security Council. It also said North Korea has completed — or is about to complete — construction of a second launch site for long-range rockets.

“It does not represent the Security Council’s position. Nor does it represent the position of the relevant sanctions committee of the Security Council,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu (姜瑜) said in a faxed statement.

Jiang said she would not comment on anonymous accusations of shipments through China.

“What I can tell you is that China is earnest and responsible in implementing Security Council resolutions,” she said.

The report said the launch site on the country’s western coast is close to Tongchangdong and could be used for ballistic missiles in violation of UN sanctions. It said the installations appear “bigger and more sophisticated” than the original site on the east coast used for the 1998, 2006 and 2009 Taepodong missile launches.

“In an effort to get hard currency and advance its own programs, the country has been actively engaged in the export of complete [missile] systems, components and technology to numerous customers in the Middle East and South Asia,” the panel said.

The panel, which monitors implementation of sanctions, said prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between North Korea and Iran on regularly scheduled flights, with transshipment through a third country that diplomats identified as China.

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