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Inside the Ring: China breaks sanctions
The U.N. committee in charge of monitoring arms sanctions on North Korea concludes in a report that China provided six off-road vehicles that were converted into long-range missile launchers by Pyongyang's military.
The Chinese-made transporter-erector launchers were first displayed at a military parade in Pyongyang last year as part of North Korea’s newest long-range strategic nuclear missile, the road-mobile KN-08 missile.
“On the basis of the information currently available, the panel considers it most likely that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea deliberately breached the end-user guarantee that it officially provided to [China‘s] Wuhan and converted the WS51200 trucks into transporter-erector launchers,” says the annual report of a U.N. panel of analysts, dated June 11.
According to the report, Chinese officials told the United Nations that the six transporter-erector launchers were sold as “lumber transporters” and were manufactured by China’s Hubei Sanjiang Space Wanshan Special Vehicle Co., and that they could not be used for transporting missiles.
Other analysts say the disguised launcher transfers are typical of Chinese covert arms proliferation efforts.
A U.N. analysis of the launchers reveals that the launchers’ “fronts and sides, the fenders, the exhaust systems, fuel tanks and tires of the vehicles seen on parade exactly matched those of the WS51200 series advertised by Wanshan.”
“It was independently developed by the Ninth Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. and its recent successful delivery to the client has filled a gap in this sector in China,” the report states.
The document, without naming North Korea, says the vehicle was “developed by the Wanshan Company of the Ninth Academy in accordance with the client’s needs, using the WS series heavy-duty chassis technology.”
Discovery of the North Korean KN-08 prompted the Pentagon to conduct a recent study that concluded the long-range missile threat to the United States has increase sharply. The Pentagon announced earlier this year that it is adding 14 new anti-missile interceptors to its missile defense system.
Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military who was one of the first analysts to confirm that the North Korean missile launchers are Chinese-made, said the U.N. report is “a defeat for the United Nations and a failure of American diplomacy because China escapes an appropriate accusation of violating U.N. sanctions against selling missile technology to North Korea.”
“The Sanjiang Group of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. designed the 16-wheel truck that was sold to North Korea for the specific purpose of transporting, erecting and launching large missiles,” Mr. Fisher said. “That a North Korean nuclear missile that can reach Anchorage, Alaska, is being carried by a Chinese made TEL is not the result of some ‘violation’ of a contract, but of a deliberate Chinese policy to help North Korea become a nuclear missile state.”
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About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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