Did China Assist North Korea’s Missile Launch?

by Patrick Brennan

China may have provided key technology for North Korea’s missile launch last week, contravening international sanctions — when they’re supposed to be party to talks about ending the People’s Republic’s nuclear program. The Washington Times reports:

China likely provided the mobile long-range missile launcher that North Korea displayed in a military parade over the weekend, which would put Beijing in violation of U.N. sanctions, analysts say.

The 16-wheeled vehicle, known as a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL), is apparently based on a Chinese design, said Ted Parsons of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. . . .

 “If confirmed, China’s involvement in providing this erector-launcher toNorth Korea would put it in breach of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874,” said James Hardy, the Asia Pacific editor for Jane’s Defense Weekly.

The resolution bans countries from supplying North Korea with “any arms or related materiel, or providing financial transactions, technical training, services, or assistance related to such arms.”

The supply of such a vehicle to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions “would require approval from the highest levels of the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army,” said Mr. Parsons.

That has serious implications for the six-party talks on curbing North Korea’s nuclear program – the only forum for discussions between Pyongyang and the international community. . . .

If China has been secretly aiding the North Korean ballistic missile program, that “could fatally undermine the six-party talks [because they are] built on the premise that there is a unanimous desire to prevent the North from developing a nuclear capability,” Mr. Hardy said.

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