China has denied allegations that its firms had exported
banned goods to North Korea, after Japanese media reported
that Chinese-made missile transporters were sold to Pyongyang
in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper cited Japanese government sources
as saying a Chinese company exported four large vehicles to
North Korea last August that were capable of transporting and
launching ballistic missiles.
Concerns that Beijing had sold banned military goods to the
hermit state surfaced in April after a modern missile
transporter some Western military experts thought to be of
possible Chinese design and origin was seen in a military
parade to celebrate the North's founder.
"Chinese companies have not exported any items which have
been banned by relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions or
Chinese law. Related reports are incorrect," Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular press
The Foreign Ministry denied it had broken any rules in April
but the United States said it would push Beijing to tighten
up enforcement of the U.N. ban.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
said "intelligence issues" prevented her from discussing the
allegations in detail.
"I will say that we have raised our own concerns with China
about allegations that Chinese entities have assisted the
DPRK missile program," she told a news briefing.
"And we will continue to work with China and others in the
international community to enforce the U.N.'s sanctions on
North Korea's ballistic and nuclear missile program," added
China is North Korea's main economic and diplomatic backer,
seeing it as a buffer against U.S. influence in the region.
Beijing is also a major supplier of food aid and oil to
Pyongyang, which remains isolated by sanctions over its
nuclear ambitions and rocket launches.
Under United Nations Security Council resolutions from 2006
and 2009, all states are banned from helping North Korea with
its ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities as
well as supplying heavy weapons.
The Japanese report gave details of the vehicle shipment,
including the name of the cargo ship and when it left China
and arrived in North Korea, as seen by U.S., Japanese and
South Korean satellites.
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba would not confirm
the report's accuracy when asked by an opposition lawmaker at
parliament, saying it was an intelligence matter.
"I'm aware of the media report and I am closely watching the
issue. But it is not appropriate to give details of the
communication and the situation at this place," he said.