North Korea has reportedly sent ballistic missile and chemical weapons components to Syria in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a draft of a new report authored by U.N. experts that has been viewed by several news organizations.
According to the 200-page report, expected to go public in mid-March, U.N. investigators say the items include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to The New York Times. The transfers reportedly date back as far as 2008.
The Times reports, "North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea's compliance with United Nations sanctions."
The Associated Press says the "investigations into Pyongyang's transfer of prohibited ballistic missile, conventional arms and dual use goods found more than 40 previously unreported shipments to Syria between 2012 and 2017."
"North Korea has a sordid history of supplying rogue states like Syria with weapons of mass destruction technology for cash," Andrew C. Weber, a former top Pentagon nonproliferation official told The Washington Post. "Given its large and growing arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile delivery systems, this is extremely dangerous."
The AP reports:
"According to an unidentified member state, the North's Ryonhap-2 Corporation was involved that year in a Syrian ballistic missile program, the 'maneuverable re-entry vehicle (MARV) Scud D (MD) project,' the report said.
"More recently, it said the August 2016 visit by a technical delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea — the country's official name — 'involved the transfer to Syria of special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons programs.' "
As NPR's Greg Myre reported last week, the U.S. has also been tightening sanctions on North Korea, with the latest round aimed at blocking the regime from obtaining imports of oil and other prohibited products.
However, as Greg writes:
"More than 50 ships and shipping companies were cited by the Treasury Department for evading existing U.S. and international sanctions. While most of those named were based in North Korea, companies and ships from China, Singapore, Taiwan, Panama, Tanzania, the Marshall Islands and the Comoros were also included.
"The measures are part of the administration's 'maximum pressure campaign' on North Korea and are designed to put pressure on the country for its expanding nuclear weapons program."