Japan: China Sent N. Korea Missile Launchers

Media reports claim 4 shipped from Shanghai last summer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2012 6:41 AM CDT
In this April 15, 2012 file photo, a North Korean vehicle carrying a missile passes by during a mass military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square.   (David Guttenfelder)

(Newser) – Japan says it has evidence that a Chinese company exported to North Korea vehicles capable of transporting and launching missiles, in possible violation of UN sanctions, Japanese media reported today. China called the reports "inaccurate," and denied violating any UN restriction. Four of the vehicles were shipped from Shanghai to North Korea last August aboard a Cambodian-flagged cargo vessel, the reports said. Japanese authorities tracked the ship by satellite, and searched it after it had delivered its cargo, when it transited through Japan the following month.

Though no suspicious vehicles were aboard the ship when it was searched in Japan, authorities found documents detailing the cargo it had unloaded in North Korea—which included the vehicles, believed to be the ones used in a military parade in Pyongyang in April. Despite the latest reports, experts say pinning a sanctions-busting charge on Beijing would be difficult because it would be hard to prove that Beijing knowingly approved the exports for military purposes. China claims the vehicles were to be used to carry lumber. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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