North Korean-made rifles have even been recovered from the bodies of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, although U. officials believe the guns were probably looted from stocks sold to the late Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi years earlier.
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The freighter’s steel frame was corroded from bow to stern, and its fixtures caked with coal dust from previous voyages, U. Whether its weapons were discovered or not, the ship’s 8,000-mile voyage last summer was probably destined to be its last. “This was a one-shot voyage, and the boat was probably intended for the scrap yard afterward.” [Photos of the Jie Shun show how rocket-propelled grenades were concealed under iron ore] Seaworthy or not, the ship set sail from the port city of Haeju, North Korea, on July 23, 2016, with a 23-member North Korean crew that included a captain and a political officer to ensure Communist Party discipline on board.
“The ship was in terrible shape,” said a Western diplomat familiar with confidential reports from the official U. Although North Korean-owned, the vessel had been registered in Cambodia, allowing it to fly a Cambodian flag and claim Phnom Penh as its home port. intelligence agencies tracked the ship as it left North Korea, and then monitored it as it steamed around the Malay Peninsula and sailed westward across the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
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.
The list includes sub-Saharan African countries such as Uganda and Congo, which for decades relied on North Korea to train and equip their armies. Although Cairo has publicly sworn off dealing with North Korea, she said, incidents such as the Jie Shun show how hard it is to break old habits, especially for military managers seeking to extend the life of costly weapons systems.