NHK: North Korea Exported Rocket Launchers to Myanmar; violated UN sanctions
New revelations suggest that North Korea has been exporting rocket launchers to the Myanmar, in violation of UN sanctions. The exports began just after Myanmar and North Korea restored diplomatic ties two years ago and were carried out through a Singapore-based trading company. NHK reports:
The rockets used with the launchers are said to measure 240 millimeters in diameter and about a meter in length, and have a range of about 65 kilometers.
North Korea is believed to have a number of such multiple-tube launchers deployed along the demilitarized border with South Korea.
The UN Security Council adopted a sanctions resolution against North Korea following its nuclear tests in October 2006. The resolution bans the country from exporting or importing nuclear material, ballistic missiles and other types of conventional weapons.
The reports of North Korean exports of weapons to Myanmar, a fellow military dictatorship, has raised concerns in the United States and South Korea.
North Korea has been cut off from international economic assistance due to a deadlock in the six-party talks on its nuclear disarmament.
Myanmar has been in the process of upgrading its military hardware, and many suspect that North Korea, which increasingly relies on arms exports to earn foreign currency, is playing the role of supplier. Last year, Myanmar came to world attention when the ruling military junta conducted a brutal and bloody crackdown on peaceful, anti-government demonstrations.
A second NHK article on North Korean-Burmese ties notes:
They say Myanmar had been buying small arms from North Korea through mediation by China and Singapore even before restoring diplomatic ties with the North last year.
The restoration of ties is believed to have enabled Myanmar to buy larger weapons from the North.
As for North Korea, a Japanese university professor and expert on Korean Peninsula affairs says North Korea has increasingly relied on arms export to obtain foreign currency, as it is getting difficult to do so through drug trading and counterfeiting.
He said North Korea may expect the United States to be less critical of its export of rocket launchers to Myanmar than of its suspected transfer of nuclear technology to countries including Syria.