Report reveals North Korea helping Syria make chemical weapons
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 28 February 2018| 12 Jumadul Ukhra 1439
A yet unpublished UN document indicates North Korea has played a critical role in the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program, according to a report published Tuesday.
UN investigators found Pyongyang has shipped key supplies to the regime, including acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to the New York Times.
The report indicates North Korean missile technicians have been spotted at Syrian regime chemical weapons and missile facilities.
It follows continued claims of chemical weapons attacks orchestrated by the regime, most recently in the capital’s East Ghouta suburb amid an offensive to oust rebels from the area.
The panel of experts who developed the report seen by the Times has had a Security Council mandate to examine possible North Korean sanctions violations since 2010. The panel’s eight members come from a broad stroke of disciplines including weapons of mass destruction and customs controls.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he had not seen the report cited by the Times but emphasized “all member states have a duty and a responsibility to abide by the sanctions that are in place.
“The last thing we need in Syria is more chemical weapons,” he told reporters.
Experts who reviewed the more than 200-page report told the Times while it does not prove continued collaboration between Pyongyang and the regime, it lays out a comprehensive attempt by the countries to circumvent sanctions intended to stymy their military programs.
Pyongyang has supported the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program dating to the 1990s, the Times reported, citing a forthcoming book. The book by former Defense Intelligence Agency Korea analyst Bruce Bechtol recounts an incident in which Syrian technicians died alongside North Korean and Iranian advisers in 2007 when a sarin and VX nerve gas-filled warhead exploded.
North Korea’s cooperation with the regime continued during Syria’s brutal civil war, the UN report contends.
It points to an incident in January 2017 when two ships loaded with special acid-resistant tiles used to construct chemical weapons factories were interdicted on their way to Damascus.
“Those shipments were among five deliveries agreed to in a contract between a government-owned company in Syria and the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., a North Korean company involved in arms exports, according to the report. It based those findings at least in part on copies of contracts provided by the shipping company, identified as Cheng Tong Trading Co. Ltd., based in China,” the Times reported.
Three other shipments were sent between Nov. 3 and Dec. 12, 2016, according to the UN’s report.
Source – Anadolu Agency
Pic Credit – The Washington Post