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UN: North Korea Sends Banned Equipment to Syria, Myanmar

28 February, 2018

An unpublished United Nations report says that North Korea sent materials that could be used in chemical weapons to Syria and missile technology to Myanmar.

Both exchanges, if true, would be violations of UN Security Council resolutions.

The report says the materials sent to Syria included thermometers and special valves. The document also says that North Korea made at least 40 shipments of materials to Syria between 2012 and 2017.

The Associated Press says the UN report could be made public in the middle of March.

Group of UN experts release unpublished findings

The report contains the findings of eight UN experts. They are observing UN sanctions against North Korea.

Some details of the report have been released as fighting in the Ghouta area of Damascus has intensified and the number of civilian dead grows.

The United States and other nations have accused Syria of using chemical weapons against rebel-controlled areas. They say chemical weapons have been used recently near Damascus.

The government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad denies this.

A Syrian man shows remnants of rockets reportedly fired by regime forces on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, Jan. 22, 2018.
A Syrian man shows remnants of rockets reportedly fired by regime forces on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, Jan. 22, 2018.

The report says there is "new substantial evidence" about North Korea's involvement with Syria since 2008. It says North Korean missile experts were seen working at Syrian chemical weapons and missile factories.

Syria answered the experts' questions about North Korean involvement. It said, "There are no [North Korean] technical companies in Syria and the only presence of some [North Korean] individuals are confined to the field of sports under private individual contracts for training athletics and gymnastics."

However, an unidentified UN member state said a North Korean corporation was involved in Syria's long-distance missile program.

Report: North Korea continues weapons trade

The UN experts say that an unnamed member state also reported that North Korea continues to keep a "global procurement network" for finding parts.

In addition to Syria, an unnamed UN member state reported that there is evidence of Myanmar receiving weapons from North Korea. The weapons include rocket launchers and short and long distance missile equipment.

On February 2, the AP reported that North Korea had exported products related to ballistic missile systems to Syria and Myanmar. The exports, banned by the UN Security Council resolutions, are said to have earned nearly $200 million for North Korea in 2017.

The experts said they had earlier found that a company from Myanmar had been involved in the "attempted transfer of prohibited nuclear-related items in 2012."

In 2015, Myanmar told the UN that it had only "normal diplomatic ties" with North Korea. Myanmar expelled one North Korean diplomat last year for dealings with a banned North Korean company. Myanmar said in January it was "investigating the UN experts' requests for information."

I'm Mario Ritter.

Mario Ritter adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on AP news reports. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

thermometer –n. a device for measuring temperature

valve –n. a mechanical device that controls the flow of a liquid or gas

sanctions –n. measures taken against a country to make it obey international law usually by limiting trade

substantial –adj. not a small amount

confined –adj. limited to, within a small space

procurement –n. the process of finding and providing products, services, etc.

ballistic –adj. related to missiles shot over long distances

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