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Chinese firm sold 8 military vehicles to N. Korea: report

Military exports could violate UNSC resolution against arms transactions with Pyongyang

A Chinese firm reportedly sold eight military vehicles to North Korea last May in an apparent violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution banning arms transactions with the impoverished state.

Citing an announcement by Kanwa Information Center, a private military research institute based in Canada, Japan’s Kyodo News reported Friday that the firm under the Chinese People’s Liberation Army sold the vehicles.

Pyongyang unveiled the Transporter Erector Launcher carrying its new intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade marking the centennial of the birth of its national founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.

The center said that the vehicle imported from China is equipped with a U.S.-made diesel engine and a German transmission.

The Chinese firm specializes in the production of special military vehicles including missile launchers, and has designed the mobile missile launcher since 2008 based on Pyongyang’s demand, the center said.

The center emphasized that it is certain that the Beijing authorities knew that the special vehicles are for military purposes, not for civilian use.

Beijing denied the allegations that it had supplied the North with military equipment, stressing that it does not do anything in breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The UNSC Resolution 1874 was adopted in 2009 after the North conducted its second underground nuclear test in May of the same year. It calls on Pyongyang to stop all activities using ballistic missile technology and overseas weapons transactions.

The UNSC Resolution 1718, which was adopted in 2006 after the North’s first nuclear test, also stipulates sanctions on Pyongyang’s arms transactions.

Should it be confirmed that Beijing permitted the sale of the vehicles, diplomatic repercussions are expected. Some observers said that Beijing’s diplomatic leadership in persuading the North to renounce its nuclear ambitions could be undermined.

The Seoul government plans to call for a clear explanation from Beijing should the vehicle turn out to have been exported from China.

“If confirmed, it could be a violation of the U.N. resolution. But we have to confirm how the vehicle has made its way into the North,” a senior government official told local media.

In the military parade, the North showed off 34 kinds of weapons whose total number reached 880. What drew keen attention was the new missile that appears to have a similar or longer range than the Taepodong-2 missile.

The Taepodong-2 missile is presumed to have a range of more than 6,700 kilometers, long enough to hit parts of Alaska, but still short of reaching the U.S. mainland. Both test launches of the missile failed in July 2006 and in April 2009.

By Song Sang-ho (