North Korea has delivered 400 ballistic missile to Mideast

Monday, October 27, 2003

North Korea has delivered 400 ballistic missiles to clients in the Middle East and sharply increased sales over the last year.

The South Korean Defense Ministry told parliament in a report that Pyongyang delivered 400 Scud-class missiles to a range of Middle East countries since 1985. The report said the missile export constituted the largest source of hard currency for the Stalinist regime.

The report said the best clients of North Korea were Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The report did not say how much Pyongyang earned from the exports. But the Yonhap News Agency said the figure was $110 million.

In 2002, North Korea sold $60 million worth of Scud missiles and missile parts to Iraq, Iran, Syria and Yemen, Middle East Newsline reported. The report said Pyongyang also sold Pakistan, Syria and Yemen $30 million worth of missile technology in 1999. The combined figure for 2001 was $20 million in 2001.

"Since the middle of the 1980s, North Korea has exported 400-odd Scud missiles along with missile-related parts to the Middle East region," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Ki-Beom, quoting the report, said.

Analysts said the North Korean delivery of 15 Scud B and Scud C missile systems in December 2002 was a major reason for the sharp increase in revenues for Pyongyang. The missile shipment was seized by a Spanish war vessel and after Yemeni threats was ordered released by the United States.

North Korean missile revenues for 2003, the analysts said, were expected to match or exceed those reported for last year. The analysts cited increased North Korean missile cooperation with Iran.

The report did not seem to reveal significant additional information already found in previous South Korean studies on the North's missile exports. In 2002, a South Korean report asserted that Pyongyang sold $500 million worth of missiles to Middle East clients since the mid-1980s.

North Korea has exported such missiles as the Scud B and C to Syria and Yemen as well as the No-Dong medium-range missile to Iran. Pyongyang was also said by South Korea to have transferred missile technology to Egypt and Libya.

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