Chinese Components Found in North Korean Rockets Despite Sanctions

Chinese Components Found in North Korean Rockets Despite Sanctions, by John Hayward.

China seems to be having second thoughts about indulging the deranged Kim regime in North Korea for so long, but it will not be easy for Beijing to downplay the amount of assistance it has given Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program over the years.

The Washington Post writes of a North Korean booster rocket falling into South Korean waters after a major satellite launch last year, and the South Koreans discovering that many of its key components were purchased from Chinese businesses.

U.N. officials sought comment from these Chinese firms after preparing a report on the rocket configuration but “received only silence.” That is not surprising since the U.N. report found that “sensitive software and other items specifically banned for export to North Korea under U.N. Security Council sanctions” were sold by the Chinese as well, and some of the shipments occurred within the last 18 months.

Technical developments are forcing political changes:

[Chinese policy] changed when the North Koreans began their final lap toward nuclear-tipped ICBMs, and the U.S. responded by deploying the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea. China and Russia hate the way THAAD’s powerful radars allow it to peer into Chinese territory, and they dislike the thought of pouring resources into offensive systems that might be able to overwhelm advanced missile defense.

Also, China may have calculated it could pull North Korea back before it developed nuclear-tipped long-range missiles, without factoring in the danger of EMP attacks. High-altitude nuclear detonations designed to scramble electronics don’t require much in the way of precision guidance, and they don’t need re-entry technology at all, which is one of the biggest challenges to producing regular nuclear missiles. The very same type of satellite launch vehicle China helped North Korea build is just about good enough to put an EMP weapon over the United States or Europe, with potentially catastrophic results. It’s a threat Western planners simply cannot ignore.