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China supplies ballistic missile launchers to N Korea-Japan media

June 13, 2012, 12:26 UTC+3

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba refused either to confirm or disprove the local media reports

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TOKYO, June 13 (Itar-Tass) — China on August 1, 2011 dispatched by sea from Shanghai to the North Korean port of Nampho heavy self-propelled platforms for mobile ballistic missiles, Japan’s all major TV stations and news agencies reported on Wednesday with reference to government sources. Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba refused either to confirm or disprove the local media reports.

“The problem is related to intelligence reports,” the minister told the budget commission of the upper house of parliament. “I do not think it is appropriate to delve at this point into this subject.”

Meanwhile, according to media reports, the self-propelled platforms were on board the Harmony Wish vessel registered in Cambodia the movement of which was reportedly fixed by space intelligence equipment. According to these data, the cargo ship carried four 16-wheel heavy vehicles 21 metres in length each that were designed in China for the transportation and launch of the Dongfeng-31 mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US territory.

Last October, the Harmony Wish ship was allegedly at Japan’s port of Osaka where it was inspected. Detailed export documents on the vehicles sent to North Korea, on their manufacturer, exporter and receiver were allegedly found during the inspection. Tokyo passed the data to Washington and Seoul. It was noted that the Chinese supplies run counter to UN Security Council Resolution 1874, which in 2009 banned the export to the DPRK of any military materials and related technologies, with the exception of light weapons. However, the United States, South Korea and Japan decided not to make this fact public, so as not to spoil relations with Beijing, which plays an important role in the quest for maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula.

On April 15 this year, the wheeled launchers supplied from China were allegedly shown at the parade in Pyongyang to mark the 100th birth anniversary of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung. North Korean ballistic missiles of a new type were installed on them. After that, according to media reports, the United States ostensibly informally asked Beijing to clarify this issue by presenting information it has to the United States, South Korea and Japan. China, the reports say, has admitted the fact of the vehicles’ delivery to North Korea, but contended that they are intended for the transportation of lumber. 

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