North Korea, Pakistan and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Destructive Deals

For the first time since UN inspectors were expelled from North Korea in 2002 a foreign team has visited the nuclear site – in this case a private group of American officials and experts. But concern about the secretive Stalinist state goes beyond its possible nuclear capability. Pyongyang is accused of supplying weapons and missiles, or the means to make them, to other countries. Now there are suggestions that Pakistan – an acknowledged nuclear power – has been trading secrets with North Korea amongst others.

The World Today Published 1 February 2004 Updated 16 October 2020 3 minute READ

Andy Oppenheimer

Consultant on weapons of mass destruction, Jane's Information Group

North Korea has supplied significant ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials and technical expertise to Egypt, Iran, Libya, Pakistan and Syria. The thousand-kilometre range Ghauri missile is Pakistan’s imported version of the North Korean Nodong, which is similar to the Scud. Pakistan has denied helping Pyongyang with nuclear weapons equipment in return for missile components. But it has imported missiles from North Korea’s state-owned Changgwang Sinyong Corp, which has been the subject of US sanctions since August 2002.

Syria has received North Korean assistance in developing longer-range missiles such as the Scud D. Libya is also trying to achieve medium-range missile capability, probably through direct purchase from North Korea.

These sales are a primary source of hard currency, which enables Pyongyang to fund its own missile programmes. From 1987 to 1996 it exported about 370 missiles to Middle Eastern countries, earning around $1 billion.

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