Evidence uncovered last year by South Korea’s navy revealed that some businesses in China had been illegally selling rocket components to the rogue regime of unhinged North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
After North Korea launched a satellite into space in February of 2016, the South Korean navy managed to snag entire sections of the satellite’s booster rocket from the ocean. Analysis later revealed that “(m)any key components (of the booster) were foreign-made, acquired from businesses based in China,” according to The Washington Post.
This meant that despite longtime assurances by the Chinese government that it was doing everything in its power to rein Kim in, some Chinese companies had been continuing “to act as enablers, supplying the isolated communist regime with technology and hardware that allow its missiles to take flight,” as noted by The Post and based on observations from current and former U.S. and United Nations’ officials.
This was a big concern, and assuming that these illegal transactions continue to occur under the Chinese government’s nose, it could very well still be a problem.
To make matters worse, the Chinese government has adamantly refused to admit the existence of these illegal transactions, despite evidence showing that products — electronics components that had been manufactured in Western countries and distributed by Chinese companies — were shipped privately to the North Koreans as recently as 18 months ago.
“(A)t least two 6-axis machine tools, containing controlled, imported subcomponents, were exported to North Korea in about 2015 without authorization from the supplier country, a requirement of the original supply of the goods,” the Institute for Science and International Security reported this week, adding that an investigation by the Chinese government into this transaction ultimately “failed.”
In other words, the Chinese government again chose to do nothing. What remains unclear to analysts is whether these failures to take concrete action were the result of incompetence or corruption.
“There’s all kinds of slack in the system,” Joshua Pollack, a former consultant to U.S. government agencies on arms control and a senior research associate with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told The Post.
“It could be that the Chinese don’t care enough to do much about it,” he added. “A second possibility is that they don’t have the systems — such as strong export controls — in place. Or that it’s just corruption.”
Either way, this flow of products into North Korea is providing the rogue regime with access to advanced technology that could one day be used by its megalomaniacal despot to kill an untold number of people.
And that’s why it needs to be put to a halt, pronto.
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