- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

North Korea recently shipped missiles and fuel components to Yemen in a sign the Pyongyang government is continuing to act as the world's main missile supplier, The Washington Times has learned.
The missile shipment was sent from the port of Nampo two weeks ago aboard a freighter bound for Yemen and had been under surveillance for several weeks, according to U.S. intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In addition to missiles, the shipment included containers of a chemical known as inhibited red fuming nitric acid, an agent used as an oxidizer in Scud missile fuel.
The officials said the shipment is part of a deal between Yemen and North Korea for Scud missiles that was made public earlier this year. The U.S. imposed economic sanctions against North Korea in August after the first missile transfer.
"We deny the credibility of any such report, that there is a second [missile] shipment," said Yahya Alshawkani, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy. Mr. Alshawkani said the only missile shipment from North Korea took place earlier this year.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday called North Korea the "single biggest proliferator of ballistic missiles" and said its role in selling missiles and technology is "a danger to the world."
"They have had interaction over many, many years with a great number of countries terrorist states and nonterrorist states," Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Foreign Press Center. He added that much remains unknown about North Korea's missile sales.
A CIA spokesman declined to comment.
The latest shipment is an indication that the use of sanctions against the hard-line communist country for its missile sales has not stopped the transfers.
North Korea was hit with U.S. economic sanctions in August for a similar shipment of Scud missile components to Yemen. They block the state-run company, Changgwang Sinyong Corp., from doing business with the U.S. government or from obtaining licensed exports from here.
Yemen was not sanctioned because of the Sana'a government's support of the United States in the war on terrorism.
U.S. officials said the U.S. government protested the missile sale, which was arranged during the Clinton administration, and that the Sana'a government promised not to purchase additional missiles.
It could not be learned how many missiles Yemen is buying from North Korea.
The new shipment is expected to result in additional sanctions on North Korea, U.S. officials said.
Disclosure of the missile transfer came as a senior Yemeni official was in Washington to express Yemen's support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
Abdel-Karim Iryani, a former government minister and adviser to the president, told reporters that Yemen is working closely with the United States in the war.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in Sana'a Aug. 24 that "we have bought these missiles, and this is a legitimate right for Yemen," according to press reports from the region.
Mr. Saleh also said the United States imposed sanctions on North Korea and not Yemen because of its support for efforts to find al Qaeda terrorists.
The CIA carried out a bold missile attack in October using an unmanned aerial vehicle that killed six al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, including an American and a key al Qaeda leader who had been linked to the October 2000 terrorist bombing of the USS Cole missile destroyer in Aden harbor.
U.S. officials said Yemen's purchase of missiles is part of the trend among developing nations of acquiring missile systems as a way to counter missile threats from neighboring countries.
In the past, Yemen has purchased more than 20 Scud missiles from Moscow. Several were fired in 1994 during Yemen's civil war.
North Korea in the past has been closely involved in supplying missiles and related components to states that support terrorism in the Middle East, notably Syria and Iran.
Pyongyang also has sold missile goods to Pakistan and Egypt.
North Korea's missile sales to Iran have been a major cause of concern because of sales of medium-range missile components.
Last year, U.S. intelligence agencies discovered a payment dispute between Iran and North Korea over missile sales after Tehran was slow to pay Pyongyang.
A missile shipment from North Korea to Iran was detected in February 2001 involving medium-range missile components and technology.
North Korea announced last week that it was abandoning the 1994 Agreed Framework that was supposed to have halted its nuclear weapons program.
The announcement followed a decision by the U.S. government to halt oil shipments to North Korea under the accord after North Korea confirmed in October that it was covertly working on nuclear weapons, in violation of the 1994 agreement.
North Korea also has hinted that it may resume missile flight tests, which were halted after the 1998 flight test of a long-range missile that flew over Japan.


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