Recently we have blogged about sanctions-busting exports of conventional weaponry to Libya and Eritrea as well as nuclear cooperation with Syria. Now more disturbing news on the proliferation front: the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun is reporting, on the basis of an unnamed source, that North Korea has sent 200 people to Iran to work on nuclear and missile cooperation. The same report asserted that arms seized in Thailand in December 2009 were bound for Iran, and that the North Korean sub that sank the Cheonan was constructed using Italian technology passed along via Iran. The same day the official North Korean news agency, KCNA, ran a piece touting Iran’s commitment to continue processing highly enriched uranium.
This report follows on the heels of reporting by Louis Charbonneau of Reuters that a suppressed UN report details DPRK-Iran cooperation on missile-related sanctions evasion. China, which had blocked release of an earlier report on North Korea is up to its same tricks: a senior UN diplomat was quoted in the New York Times to the effect that “The Chinese expert [on the panel] refused to sign the report, under pressure from Beijing, and this raises serious issues about a panel of experts that is supposed to be free from political interference.” China has run the same diplomatic interference for the Sudan, with Russia pitching in on behalf of Iran.