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The Rediff Special/B Raman
April 08, 2003
On March 24, Washington imposed a two-year sanction against Pakistan's A Q Khan Research Laboratories and North Korea's Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, which debars them from trade or technological exchanges with government and non-government entities in the United States.
The sanctions were imposed as penalty for their clandestine missile supply relationship with each other.
But while the sanctions are also applicable against North Korea, they are not applicable against Pakistan, though KRL is owned and run by Pakistan and managed by its armed forces.
In the absence of sanctions against Pakistan, the sanctions against KRL are a fraud on public opinion. Since KRL does not have any exchanges with entities in the US, the sanctions will have no effect on its continued violation of regulations relating to the proliferation of missiles and related technology.
KRL has already been the subject of similar sanctions by the US twice, which it ignored with impunity.
"There is no evidence about what the US is saying. We have already told them [the US] that if they have any evidence... against KRL, they should bring it forward," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri told Agence France [Images] Presse on April 1, 2003.
Initial agency reports dated April 2 cited in the Karachi-based newspaper Dawn quoted state department spokesman Richard Boucher as saying that sanctions were imposed because of KRL's 'contributions' to efforts by an unnamed foreign 'country, person or entity of proliferation' to develop weapons of mass destruction and that sanctions had also been slapped on North Korea for exporting missile technology.
"Pakistan has neither imported nor exported this sensitive [uranium enrichment] technology. What we have indigenously developed is solely for our defence," Sheikh Rashid, Pakistan's information minister, told AFP. President Pervez Musharraf [Images] took strong exception to the sanctions during a telephonic conversation with US Secretary of State Colin Powell on March 31, accusing the United States of 'cold-shouldering a friend', he added.
Subsequently, Philip Reeker of the state department clarified in Washington, DC, on April 2 that the US had imposed penalties on Pakistan because of 'missile-related transfer' from North Korea, but these had nothing to do with the transfer of nuclear-related material from Pakistan to North Korea.
'The US, for the first time on Wednesday [April 2, 2003], explicitly accused Pakistan and North Korea of missile-related trade, but said it was unable to substantiate reports of nuclear technology transfers,' said Dawn on April 3. 'A state department statement received here said North Korea had exported missile technology to the A Q Khan Research Laboratories. The export prompted the US to slap trade sanctions on KRL and the North Korean missile marketing entity, Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, on March 24, spokesperson Philip Reeker said in a statement. "Changgwang Sinyong Corporation transferred missile-related technology to KRL," Reeker said, without specifying when. "The United States made a determination to impose penalties on both Changgwang Sinyong Corporation and KRL as a result of this specific missile-related transfer." KRL and the North Korean firm have been banned from trade with US firms under sanctions imposed on March 24, but only formally announced by the US on Monday [March 31, 2003],' the report said.
Dawn also quoted Japan's [Images] Sankei Shimbun newspaper as reporting on April 2 that US satellites and spy networks detected North Korean exports of some 10 Scud B missiles to Pakistan in March 2003.
But The Washington Times has reported that the sanctions related to a missile transaction that ended in August 2002. It quoted unnamed US officials 'disclosing' that American-made C-130 aircraft were used to transport the missiles to Pakistan.
'This is a very serious matter. We are not talking about missile technology or components but full-fledged No-Dong missiles that can deliver nuclear weapons -- and they used aircraft we gave them to bring the missiles home,' it quoted a senior administration official as saying.
Pointing out that the nuclear-capable missiles had a range of up to 900 miles and could reach virtually every major Indian city, the paper cited American officials as stating that the transfer took place with the knowledge of the highest levels of the Pakistani government.
It went on to say, 'Another official said the transfers occurred during a period of time ending in August, and we've been in close contact with the Pakistani government since November, urging it to stop this behaviour.'
Earlier reports, including a Central Intelligence Agency document obtained by The Washington Times last year, suggested that North Korea's missile-related transfers to Pakistan included equipment, components, materials and technical expertise, but not entire missiles.
Washington has also imposed two-year Category 1 missile sanctions against North Korea, through the state-owned Changgwang Sinyong Corp, under the Congressional Arms Export Control Act, one official said.
"That has no huge practical impact because there is no trade between the United States and North Korea, but it's an important symbolic act that shows our focus on the North's proliferation behaviour and also tells the buyers how serious we are about this," he said.
According to the paper, because the end-user of the missile purchase cannot be sanctioned under the Arms Export Control Act, known as the missile law, the penalty against the Pakistani company was imposed by a state department executive order signed by John Bolton, assistant secretary of state for arms control and international security.
'While the Bush administration has discussed the issue with authorities in Islamabad [Images], it has not approached North Korea about it,' The Washington Times quoted the official as saying.
The report added that a senior state department official said Powell told Musharraf about the sanctions in a telephone conversation on Tuesday, April 1. "The secretary said we have to follow our laws, but our bilateral relationship remains strong," the official said. "I think the Pakistanis understand we are doing what is necessary legally and this is not a political step."
According to the paper, US officials said that what aggravated the situation in the No-Dong transfer was the use of American-made planes for North Korean proliferation purposes. "The C-130 aircraft belong to the Pakistani government, which means the Pakistani Air Force signed off on the operation," the officials were quoted as saying.
Washington had imposed sanctions against the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation in the past too. In June 1996, sanctions were imposed against it for supplying missiles and related technologies to Iran. In August 2002, it was punished for a missile transfer to Yemen; in June 2001, for selling chemical-weapons materials and missile engines to Iran; and in April 2000 for missile-technology sales to Syria.
In December 2002, two Spanish warships seized on behalf of the US a North Korean Scud missile shipment destined for Yemen. But Washington allowed the delivery to pass after the Yemeni government promised the missiles were only for defence and it would not purchase arms from Pyongyang again.
Part II: The Pakistan-North Korea nexus
Design: Dominic Xavier