Last December, Spanish marines, acting on a request from the United States, boarded the So San, a North Korean freighter crossing the Arabian sea. Hidden under the bags of cement listed on the manifest were ﬁfteen Scud missiles. But when Yemeni ofﬁcials declared that they had purchased the missiles, the Spanish and US governments allowed the delivery to proceed. As former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer explained: ‘We have looked at this matter thoroughly, and there is no provision under international law prohibiting Yemen from accepting delivery of missiles from North Korea.’
Neither Yemen nor North Korea has signed the Missile Technology Control Regime voluntary guidelines. Although Yemen has ratiﬁed the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, North Korea has not, and its scope does not extend to the content or destination of cargoes.