Tags: China | NKorea | sanctions | probe

China Probes Helping NKorea Skirt Sanctions

Thursday, 25 Feb 2010 10:05 PM

China is looking into whether it may have been involved in aiding a North Korean arms shipment that was bound for central Africa. The shipment was intercepted by South Africa and is in violation of United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

South Africa this week sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council detailing its seizure of a shipment of North Korean tank parts bound for the Republic of Congo.

News reports say the letter details the shipment's route, saying it was first loaded onto a ship in China and then transferred to a French-owned ship in Malaysia.

At a regular Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing Thursday, spokesman Qin Gang had little to say on the matter.

Qin says China has noted the reports and is "looking into the issue." He said his country will take part in relevant discussions, but he gave no further details.

The shipment was seized in November, after officials at the French shipping company told South African authorities they were suspicious of the cargo their ship was transporting to the Republic of Congo.

The shipment violates a United Nations resolution that bans all North Korean arms exports and authorizes U.N. member states to inspect North Korean cargo on land, sea and air. The ban was imposed last June, in the wake of North Korea's underground nuclear test.

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