- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2001

North Korea sent a shipment of missile components and technology to Iran two weeks ago aboard a transport aircraft, The Washington Times has learned.
The components were photographed late last month by a U.S. spy satellite as they were being loaded aboard an Iranian Il-76 transport jet at a North Korean airfield, according to U.S. intelligence officials familiar with reports of the arms transfer.
The officials identified the airfield as Sunan International Airport, located about 12 miles north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
The shipment is the second missile component transfer detected this year by U.S. intelligence agencies and is a sign Pyongyang is stepping up its missile- related exports.
In late February, a missile shipment was spotted at a North Korean port waiting to be loaded on a ship for an unidentified customer. The transfer was delayed because the port was frozen.
That shipment included chemicals and fuel-related materials, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.
The missile shipment that took place in late March included various components for Irans growing arsenal of medium-range and short-range missiles, including rocket motors and air frames for missiles.
The shipment also included crates of documents that intelligence officials believe are manuals and reference material related to developing missiles.
One official said intelligence reports indicate the missile components are intended for Irans medium-range Shahab-3 missile program.
The problem of North Korean missile exports was discussed in meetings last month between President Bush and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.
Mr. Bush said after one meeting that he is concerned that North Korea is "shipping weapons around the world."
Mr. Kim later said that lasting peace on the Korean peninsula will require solving the problem of North Korean missile exports.
North Korea is a major supplier of missile components to Iran and made a similar transfer last year.
That sale involved the export of 12 rocket motors made for North Koreas 600-mile-range Nodong medium-range missiles. The engines were photographed being loaded on an Iranian 747 jetliner at Sunan Airport.
The shipment followed the imposition of economic sanctions on North Korea in January for earlier missile-related transfers.
In January, the State Department imposed sanctions on a North Korean missile company, Changgwang Sinyong Corp., for its transfers to Iran.
The company has been linked by U.S. intelligence to missile sales to Iran, including short-range Scuds, for several years.
The sanctions were not announced but posted quietly in the Federal Register.
The State Department said it was invoking a law passed last year called the Iran nonproliferation act, which requires U.S. sanctions barring U.S. government contracts with countries that sell weapons of mass destruction and missile-related equipment to Iran.
A CIA report to Congress said North Korea is one of the three major exporters of ballistic missile-related goods, technology and expertise to Iran. The others include Russia and China.
"Tehran is using this assistance to support current production programs and to achieve its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of ballistic missiles," the CIA stated in the report made public in February. "Iran already is producing Scud short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and has built and publicly displayed prototypes for the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)."
The report said North Koreas missile sales are a major source of hard currency for the cash-strapped Communist government in Pyongyang.
A senior U.S. military official said in a recent interview that U.S. and other foreign aid to North Korea has kept the government from collapsing.
The aid allowed North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to avoid making changes to the system, this official said.
Henry Sokolski, director of the private Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said reports of the latest missile transfer raise new questions about whether there should be any deals with North Korea.
"Missile sales seem to be business as usual, and there should be no deals between the United States and North Korea until they are halted," Mr. Sokolski said.
The Bush administration is reviewing past policies toward North Korea.

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