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N Korea exporting missiles to Mideast and Asia: UN report

UNITED NATIONS (AP): North Korea remains "actively engaged" in exporting ballistic missiles, components and technology to numerous customers in the Middle East and South Asia in violation of United Nations sanctions, a UN panel has said in a new report.

The seven-member panel said in a report to the UN Security Council obtained Monday by The Associated Press that North Korea has also completed or is about to complete construction of a second launch site for long-range rockets.

The launch site on the country's west coast is close to Tongchangdong and could be used for ballistic missiles in violation of UN sanctions, the report said. It said the installations appear "bigger and more sophisticated" than the original site on the east coast used for the 1998, 2006 and 2009 Taepodong missile launches.

North Korea embarked on the development of ballistic missiles in the 1970s and in the 1990s it test-fired a Nodong missile with a 1,300-kilometre range.

"In an effort to get hard currency and advance its own programmes, the country has been actively engaged in the export of complete (missile) systems, components and technology to numerous customers in the Middle East and South Asia," the panel said.

The panel, which monitors implementation of sanctions, said prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between North Korea and Iran on regularly scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air, with trans-shipment through a third country that diplomats identified as China.

During a military parade in Oct. 10, it said, North Korea displayed its new Musudan intermediate-range missile and a new warhead for its Nodong missile "which presented a strong design similarity with the Iranian Shahab-3 triconic warhead."

The Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and stepped up sanctions after its second test in 2009 to try to derail the country's rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The second round strengthened an arms embargo, authorised ship searches on the high seas for suspected banned items, and ordered an asset freeze and travel ban on companies and individuals involved in the country's nuclear and weapons programmes.

The panel's 81-page report was sent to the 15 Security Council members for their approval by Tuesday morning. If all countries agree, it will be released.

The panel's first report, in May 2010, was held up by China and finally released in November after Beijing dropped its objections.


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