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Thursday, June 14, 2012

North Korean missile launchers came from China: reports

Beijing may have violated U.N. weapons ban

Staff writer

China may have violated a U.N. Security Council resolution banning weapons transactions with Pyongyang by exporting mobile missile launchers to North Korea, government sources said Wednesday.

News photo
Out in the open: Mobile missile launchers are used in a parade in Pyongyang in April to celebrate the centennial of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung's birth. KYODO

The Japan Coast Guard investigated a Cambodian freighter in October and found documents indicating Beijing had shipped four large military vehicles to Pyongyang, media reports said. They were used in a military parade in April to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea.

Such vehicles could be used to transport long-range missiles around North Korea, making them harder to locate.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the government has taken notice of the situation but refused to comment further, including when the government obtained the information.

"The Japanese government is paying attention to the matter, but I cannot comment further on the details of an individual case because it involves intelligence activities," Fujimura said.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 prohibits member states from exporting weapons of mass destruction and missile-related arms to North Korea, including battle tanks and armored combat vehicles.

The resolution was adopted unanimously in October 2006 after North Korea tested a nuclear bomb.

According to Japanese news reports, Japanese authorities found documents in the Cambodian freighter detailing the contents of the cargo it had unloaded in North Korea, which included the vehicles.

The evidence has reportedly been shared with South Korea and the United States, but reports said Washington requested it not be made public in an attempt not to provoke China.

Fujimura only explained that in general Japan will report to the U.N. any evidence it finds that a member state has violated the resolution.

"We strongly believe that member states should adhere to the resolution," Fujimura said. "Japan will continue to work closely with the countries concerned to ensure that the international community, including China, steadily and fully implements the U.N. resolution."

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The Japan Times

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