N. Korean Missile Parts Seized En Route to Syria

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North Korea tried to send missile components to Syria on a Chinese ship but the shipment was confiscated in the South Korean port of Busan earlier this year, according to reports Wednesday.

The move would not only violate U.N. sanctions but also underscore concerns over the North’s proliferation activities and Beijing’s refusal to clamp down on its communist ally.

South Korean authorities intercepted the ship in Busan and seized hundreds of graphite cylinders in May, reports citing U.N. diplomats said. The reports couldn’t be independently confirmed.

The cylinders, declared as lead pipes, are suitable for use in missile programs.

The case was included in a report submitted this month to a U.N. special committee that oversees implementation of sanctions on North Korea.

Diplomats said the cylinders were headed to a Syrian firm called Electric Parts from a North Korean trading firm. They can be made into rocket nozzles and other components, they said. The vessel was registered in Shanghai.

Seoul officials did not provide details on the case, saying it was being investigated by the U.N. special committee. South Korea reportedly informed the committee about the incident Oct. 24.

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