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US Concerned Over Alleged Use Of Chinese Spares In N. Korea's Missile Program

4/24/2012 2:23 AM ET

A White House spokesman said on Monday that Washington was concerned over the alleged use of Chinese-made parts in North Korean missile transporters and added that the U.S. had brought the issue to Beijing's notice.

The development came after videos of a recent North Korean military parade showed missiles being ferried on a 16-wheel missile transporter-erector-launcher that may have been built using chassis and other equipment procured from Chinese companies.

Earlier, the New York Times had reported about U.S. findings on the origin of parts of the North Korean transporter launcher system. According to the report, U.S. officials believe that the missile transporter system showcased by North Korea was built using parts supplied by Chinese firm Hubei Sanjiang.

"The United States will continue to work with the international community, including China, to enforce sanctions against North Korea's ballistic missile program and nuclear program," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a press briefing.

Asked whether the U.S. has raised with Beijing the suspected involvement of the Chinese firm in North Korea's missile program, Carney said: "I would say that we've raised the allegations with the Chinese government that you mentioned as part of the ongoing -- our ongoing close consultations on North Korea. I can only say that we've raised the situation, the allegations."

Pyongyang had launched what it said was a rocket-mounted satellite into space on April 13, ignoring appeals from the international community to refrain from making such provocative actions. The rocket exploded soon after lift-off and fell into the sea near the Korean peninsula.

The move came after North Korea announced a moratorium on its nuclear tests, uranium enrichment, and long-range missile testing in exchange for food aid last month, following a third round of talks with the United States in Beijing in February.

The U.S. has since suspended delivery of its planned food aid to North Korea, warning that the botched rocket launch was in direct violation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that prohibit North Korea from conducting any launches that use ballistic missile technology.

Further, the UNSC condemned the rocket launch, noting that the North's action was in direct violation of previous U.N. resolutions. The Council also ordered tightening of U.N. sanctions already imposed on North Korea over its disputed nuclear and missile programs in 2006 and 2009, and warned of further action if Pyongyang conducted another launch or a new nuclear test.

China, a staunch allay of North Korea, insists that it has not violated any of the U.N. sanctions imposed on Pyongyang, and denies supplying any nuclear or military-related equipment to Pyongyang. Nevertheless, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. lawmakers last week that China was suspected to have provided some level of assistance to North Korea's missile program, but added that he did not know the "exact extent" of the Chinese assistance.

by RTT Staff Writer

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