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N Korean missile carrier likely from China: Experts
Posted On: Apr 20, 2012
A file photo.
The enormous, 16-wheel truck that North Korea used to carry a missile during a recent parade likely came from China in a possible violation of UN sanctions meant to rein in Pyongyang's missile programme, experts say.
The carrier, also believed capable of launching missiles, caught the eye of experts during last Sunday's military show in Pyongyang because it was the biggest carrier yet displayed by North Korea and gives the country, truculently at odds with the US, Japan and South Korea, the ability to transport long-range missiles around its territory, making them harder to locate and destroy.
The large size of the vehicle "represents a quantum leap forward" for the North Koreans, said Wendell Minnick, a reporter on Asian military developments for Defense News, a Washington-based publication.
Unlikely to have been made by North Korea because of its technical sophistication, experts said the design of the vehicle shows that China is the probable source.
Pinning a sanctions-busting charge on Beijing would be difficult, however, because it would be hard to prove that Beijing provided the technology for military purposes or even that it sold the vehicle directly to North Korea, the experts said.
The vehicle also can be used in other fields, like oil exploration. At the same time North Korea might have gotten it from another country in a re-export deal.
"It's very possible there was no intended violation of sanctions by China on this piece of equipment," said arms transfer expert Pieter Wezeman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
China on Thursday denied any wrongdoing in connection with the vehicle's appearance at the North Korean parade. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a regular news conference that China is against the spread of weapons of mass destruction and carriers for such weapons.
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