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It also shed light on a little-understood global arms trade that has become an increasingly vital financial lifeline for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the wake of unprecedented economic sanctions. ] A statement from the Egyptian Embassy in Washington pointed to Egypt’s “transparency” and cooperation with U. officials in finding and destroying the contraband. officials confirmed that delivery of the rockets was foiled only when U. intelligence agencies spotted the vessel and alerted Egyptian authorities through diplomatic channels — essentially forcing them to take action — said current and former U. Even as the United States and its allies pile on the sanctions, Kim continues to quietly reap profits from selling cheap conventional weapons and military hardware to a list of customers and beneficiaries that has at times included Iran, Burma, Cuba, Syria, Eritrea and at least two terrorist groups, as well as key U. ] Some customers have long-standing military ties with Pyongyang, while others have sought to take advantage of the unique market niche created by North Korea: a kind of global e Bay for vintage and refurbished Cold War-era weapons, often at prices far lower than the prevailing rates.
“Egypt will continue to abide by all Security Council resolutions and will always be in conformity with these resolutions as they restrain military purchases from North Korea,” the statement said. North Korean soldiers carrying packs marked with a radioactive symbol take part in a 2013 military parade in Pyongyang.
North Korea has been selling small arms around the world to bring in the hard currency it needs to survive.
“The type of weaponry that these [client] countries still have in service is largely based on communist-bloc designs from the Cold War era.
North Korea has started to innovate and move beyond those designs, but it is still willing to provide spare parts and maintenance.
As the Russians and Chinese have moved away from this market, the North Koreans have stuck around.” As a succession of harsh U. sanctions threatened to chase away customers, North Korea simply changed tactics.
“These cover materials not only act to obfuscate shipments, but really highlights the way that licit North Korean businesses are being used to facilitate North Korean illicit activity,” said David Thompson, a senior analyst and investigator of North Korean financial schemes for the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington.
“It is this nesting which makes this illicit activity so hard to identify.” With North Korea’s other profitable enterprises being hurt by international sanctions, Thompson said, such exports are now “likely more important than ever.” Even by North Korean standards, the Jie Shun was a veritable rust bucket. The desalination system had stopped working, judging from crates of water bottles officials would find strewn around the crew compartments.
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Sensing an opportunity, North Korea obtained licenses to manufacture replicas of Soviet and Chinese weapons, ranging from assault rifles and artillery rockets to naval frigates and battle tanks.