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N. Korea Diversifies Export Markets for Weapons

Posted December. 17, 2009 09:31,   


North Korea has diversified its weapons export markets and used hiding tactics to avoid international sanctions, sources said yesterday.

The U.N. Security Council in June adopted the UN Security Council Resolution 1874 to crack down on North Korea’s weapons exports, so the Stalinist country has resorted to trickery and expansion of export destinations to continue the trade.

A source close to North Korea issues said, “North Korea’s weapons exports have surpassed 100 million U.S. dollars this year, more than doubling from last year.” The exports approached 100 million dollars last year, and are expected to near 200 million dollars this year, the source added.

After the Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S.-led multinational initiative, was announced in 2003, North Korea’s weapons exports fell to 49.6 million dollars in 2007. Experts say, however, that the figure began to grow again last year.

Pyongyang previously focused on selling weapons to Middle Eastern nations, but has expanded their scope to Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. North Korea has also added export items to include weapons of mass destruction such as missiles, as well as conventional weapons including a multi-rocket launch system, naval vessels and ammunition.

To avoid international sanctions, the Second Economic Council of the ruling North Korean Workers’ Party has asked its exporters to use new names. North Korea has also promoted its weapons via Chongsong United Co., which is excluded from U.N. sanctions.

North Korea has exported weapons via a third country or tried to pass them off as civilian goods in invoices. Chemical protective clothing contained in four containers seized in Busan in October this year was also shipped from China, not North Korea.

Sources close to North Korean issues said Pyongyang has even sent experts or built joint munitions factories abroad because of the crackdown on its direct export of weapons.