Syria 'given chemical weapons supplies' by North Korea

Laura Christensen
March 3, 2018

Investigations by the United Nations panel showed that in many cases of unreported arms shipments and cooperation with front companies of entities placed under sanctions between 2010 and 2017, there is further evidence of violations of the arms embargo and other breaches, through the transfer of products used in the manufacture of ballistic missiles and weapons and in chemical programs.

USA media reported a Chinese trading firm working on behalf of Pyongyang made five shipments in late 2016 and early 2017 of high-heat, acid-resistant tiles, stainless-steel pipes and valves to Damascus.

These materials can be used for both civilian and military purposes, experts say.

The report highlights the potential danger posed by any such trade between Syria and North Korea, which could allow Syria to maintain its chemical weapons while also providing North Korea with cash for its nuclear and missile programs. The government also insists the only North Koreans in Syria are athletes and coaches.

William Newcomb, who chaired the United Nations panel of experts on North Korea from 2011 to 2014, described the report "an important breakthrough".

So far this year, Assad's forces have carried out several chlorine gas attacks in rebel-held areas in Ghouta, Idlib and Afrin, according to diplomats and witnesses.

Syria has periodically sought to appease the worldwide community on the subject of chemical weapons.

That North Korea continues to do brisk business with other rogue states despite being subject to perhaps the tightest sanctions regime ever imposed on any country illustrates the limitations, and even downsides, of punishing rogue states by cutting them out of the legitimate global marketplace.

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CGTN's Nick Harper reports from NY.

Two U.N. members reportedly obstructed shipments heading to Syria, which the U.N. suspects came from North Korea's main arms exporter as part of the contract with the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), a Syrian government agency.

Britain should consider joining military action against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime if there is "incontrovertible" evidence he has used chemical weapons against his own people, Boris Johnson has said.

The report has not been released to the public, but according to the Times, said there have been at least 40 shipments from the DPRK to Syria since 2012.

"We are racing to intercept North Korea's violation of United Nations resolution and putting all diplomatic efforts with cooperation with the global community", she said. Damascus has consistently denied using chemical weapons over the past years of conflict in the country.

Ambassador Robert Wood said the Russian government had "clearly" disregarded its commitment to stir Syria's behavior in the right direction, Reuters reported.

Before that attack, however, Syria participated in a Moscow-brokered deal in 2013 to prevent the USA from using air strikes in response to a nerve gas attack it blamed on Syria.

Other reports by My Hot News

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