July 17, 2013

NKorea arms seizure could hurt US-Cuba detente

Experts said Cuba's participation in the clandestine arms network was a puzzling move that promised little military payoff considering the risks.

The Associated Press MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN,Associated Press
PETER ORSI,Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

Panamanian workers stand atop sacks of sugar inside a container of a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, on Tuesday.

The Associated Press

click image to enlarge

North Korea's military delegation members led by chief of the General Staff of the people's army, Kim Kyok Sik, center, pose for photos before leaving for Cuba at the Pyongyang Airport on June 26. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday.

The Associated Press

"Upgrading, servicing and repairing, that's what the North Koreans do," added Hugh Griffiths, arms trafficking expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. "It is military equipment prohibited under U.N. sanctions, so whether payment is made in the form of barter trade or foreign currency, it still constitutes a violation."

The private defense analysis group IHS said satellite tracking data showed that another North Korean vessel had made a similar trip last year, crossing the Panama Canal on its way to Cuba, then crossing back, although there was no evidence yet that it had been carrying arms.

Griffiths also said his institute earlier this year reported to the U.N. a discovery it made of a flight from Cuba to North Korea that traveled via central Africa, a flight it said should now be receiving new scrutiny.

Under current sanctions, all U.N. member states are prohibited from directly or indirectly supplying, selling or transferring arms, missiles or missile systems and the equipment and technology to make them to North Korea, with the exception of small arms and light weapons.

The most recent resolution, approved in March after Pyongyang's latest nuclear test, authorizes all countries to inspect cargo inside or transiting through their territory that originated in North Korea. It also lets countries inspect cargo destined for North Korea if a state has credible information the cargo could violate Security Council resolutions.

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)