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Chinese Trucks Give North Korean Missiles A Lift During Big Military Parade

When North Korea rolled out a few submarine-launched missiles for the first time over the weekend, some observers noticed that the trucks belonged to a Chinese company — Sinotruk.

North Korea celebrated the Day of the Sun, the anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, with a military parade, during which the regime showed off its weapons for war. Half a dozen KN-11 SLBMs were displayed during the show, and they were brought out on Chinese vehicles.

(This first appeared in The Daily Caller here.)

Some observers also suggested that the trucks carrying a potential intercontinental ballistic missile model were also of Chinese origin. There were also North Korean military trucks on Chinese tires produced by Triangle Group.

The U.N.s prohibits the sale of military equipment to North Korea, but dual-use products are harder to regulate and even harder to track. Both Sinotruk and Triangle said they were unaware that their products were used in North Korea’s military parade. A Sinotruk HOWO vehicle was used to showcase a North Korean artillery system last year.

“From my understanding, we haven’t had any business with the North Korean market since last year,” a Sinotruk representative told Reuters, adding, “North Korea has never been a major focus of ours.”

The company suggested that the trucks may have been refitted.

Referring to the tires, a Triangle Group representative said, “It’s possible they were resold from somewhere else.”

While there is the possibility that Chinese companies knowingly exported dual-use goods to North Korea with advanced knowledge of North Korea’s intent, there is no immediate evidence. In 2010, North Korea’s forestry ministry told China that it needed heavy trucks to haul timber.

Chinese trucks have also been used for mining and construction.

At the same time, Chinese companies have been involved in the shipment of banned technology to North Korea. A recent Wall Street Journal report revealed that North Korean missiles are being developed using components imported from China. The report said that North Korea would not have been able to advance its missile program to the levels seen today without Chinese assistance. It is unclear if the Chinese state government was simply unaware or complicit, but the report demonstrated the difficulty in cutting North Korea off and isolating the country from the world.

It is unclear how much China will cooperate with the Trump administration’s efforts to rein in North Korea, as the relationship between Beijing and Pyongyang and Beijing and Washington are both complicated.

China is adamant that it upholds international law and all related UN resolutions. “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China strictly adheres to its international responsibilities,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said, replying to questions about the trucks in North Korea’s parade.

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Image Credit: Creative Commons.