Discussion in 'Americas' started by W.G.Ewald, Jul 16, 2013.
Panama intercepts N. Korea ship with suspected arms - PANAMA - FRANCE 24
The US would be realy freaked out!
I expect that US agents are helping the Panamanians identify what the "missile parts" are. God only knows at this point.
Looks like SAM's
North Korea-flaggeg cargo ship seized by Panama carried Fan Song radar of an SA-2 Surface to Air Missile system
The â€œChong Chon Gangâ€ was carrying components of a missile system cloaked in a cargo of sugar in what would be considered, if confirmed, a clear violation of UN sanctions on Pyongyang.
Later on the same day, President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama, posted a photograph in a Twitter message of what he described as â€œsophisticated missile equipmentâ€ found in the cargo.
After an open source imagery analysis, the military equipments found inside the containers can be identified as Russian made (or eventual clones of) SNR-75 Fan Song series engagement radar for the S-75/SA-2 Surface to Air Missile family.
The Aviationist Â» North Korea-flaggeg cargo ship seized by Panama carried Fan Song radar of an SA-2 Surface to Air Missile system
Panama Canal Weapons Seizure On North Korean Ship Shows Cuba Still A Threat - Investors.com
N. Korea demands return of vessel seized by Panama
North Korea has broken its silence over a ship's cargo of arms seized in a dramatic raid by Panama, demanding the vessel's release, as its mutinous crew members refuse to cooperate with investigators.
The communist state rebuffed suspicions of UN sanctions-busting, saying the shipment on the North Korean-flagged vessel formed part of a legitimate deal with Cuba.
Havana said the military equipment, discovered on the Chong Chon Gang among tonnes of sugar, was "obsolete" Soviet-era missiles and parts that were being sent to North Korea for repair -- an account backed up by Pyongyang.
"This cargo is nothing but ageing weapons which are to be sent back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract," said a foreign ministry statement carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency.
"The Panamanian authorities should take a step to let the apprehended crewmen and ship leave without delay," added the statement, North Korea's first on the affair.
Panama on Monday said it had discovered the shipment after impounding the vessel and conducting a drugs search. The ship's captain tried to kill himself and the crew rioted, according to Panama's president.
The 35-man crew on Wednesday refused to answer questions about the cargo.
"They took up their right not to testify," Panamanian anti-drugs prosecutor Javier Caraballo told reporters in Manzanillo, where police are still unloading sacks of sugar, looking for any more military equipment hidden on the boat.
Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli tweeted a photo of the haul, which experts said was an ageing Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles.
On Wednesday Panama officially requested United Nations inspectors scrutinise the cargo.
"The cargo is illegal because it was not declared. Anything that is not logged, even if it is obsolete, is contraband," Panamanian Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino said.
UN diplomats said strict arms sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear programme could have been breached.
"Clearly the facts still need to be established," Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said, adding: "On the face of it, the transfer of these weapons to North Korea would be a violation of the sanctions."
A spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the secretary general "commends the action taken by Panama in full conformity with its obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions".
Cuba says the cargo comprised missile parts and spares, Mig-21 aircraft parts and 15 plane motors, all manufactured "in the mid-20th century" and "to be repaired and returned to Cuba".
South Korea has welcomed the seizure, while media in Seoul reported that three years ago the Chong Chon Gang was detained in Ukraine for carrying narcotics and other contraband.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the US would raise the issue with Havana "very soon".
Analysts said the seizure shone a spotlight on a secretive barter trade where Pyongyang repairs military equipment in exchange for food.
Defence and security consultants IHS Jane's said it was possible the shipment had been on its way to North Korea for an upgrade, as Cuba insists.
"In this case, it would likely be returned to Cuba and the cargo of sugar could be a payment for the services."
Chang Yong-Seok of the Institute for Peace and Unification at Seoul's National University told AFP that the discovery was "just the tip of the iceberg".
"In the case of Cuba, North Korea has been involved in this type of trade since the 1960s when Pyongyang reached out to non-aligned countries," he said.
N. Korea demands return of vessel seized by Panama | Fox News
Two Soviet-era fighter planes found on N. Korea ship
IAF knows MIG-21 is obsolete.
Cuba Admits to Sending Weapons to North Korea
Cubaâ€™s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday confirmed that it sent missiles and other military equipment to North Korea aboard a ship that was seized by Panamanian government authorities.
In a statement, the Cuban ministry said the ship, the Chong Chon Gang, and its 35-member crew were detained.
â€œThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that said vessel sailed from a Cuban port to the Democratic Peopleâ€™s Republic of Korea, mainly loaded with 10,000 tons of sugar,â€ the statement said.
The military equipment included 240 metric tons of â€œobsolete defensive weapons,â€ including two anti-aircraft â€œcomplexes.â€
The air defenses were described as â€œVolga,â€ the export version of the Soviet-era SA-2 surface-to-air missile systems, and the â€œPechora,â€ the expert version of the SA-3.
Nine missiles, two Mig-21 aircraft, and 15 motors for the jet were included â€œto be repaired and returned to Cuba,â€ the statement said.
â€œThe agreements subscribed by Cuba in this field are supported by the need to maintain our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty,â€ the statement said.
U.S. officials said the shipmenet violates U.N. Security Council resolutions that prohibit arms shipments to North Korea. The sanctions were imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests.
The military goods were seized Friday as the ship approached the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.
Panamanian authorities said the ship was suspected of carrying illegal drugs and was boarded and searched.
The crew resisted and the captain tried to commit suicide, raising suspicions about the cargo.
Military specialists said the shipment highlighted covert military cooperation between the two communist states and raised new worries that Cuba may be shopping for North Korean ballistic missiles.
North Korea exports three variants of the short-range Scud missiles and the medium-range Nodong missile.
North Korea also has nuclear weapons and is believed to be working on developing a nuclear warhead for its missiles.
Cuba Admits to Sending Weapons to North Korea | Washington Free Beacon
Sir Nowadays It's a Flying Coffins
The only news of significance I see here is the breaking of shipping laws by fabricating cargo manifests. Other than that we're basically talking about the exchange of third grade weapons between two dilapidated nations. I'm all for using intelligence to stop illegal cargo transport, but beyond that we (the united states) need to drop our obsession with pathetic nations like NK and Cuba.
The original report was a French source.
As one answer to your statement, however, this link has an interesting view.
Cuban Missiles to North Korea: Did Raul Castro Want to Get Caught? | Yoani Sanchez
Answers needed on Cuba’s missile shipment to North Korea - KansasCity.com
Smuggling Cuban Weapons through the Panama Canal to North Korea | Center for Strategic and International Studies
N Korea ship free to leave Panama; fine paid
Panama Canal officials say a North Korean ship seized as it was smuggling weapons is free to leave because the owner has paid a fine of nearly $700,000.
The Canal Authority says the fine was imposed for violating navigation regulations by not reporting that the Chong Chon Gang was transporting war material. Three of the vessel's operators still face charges, while 32 crew members are free to return to North Korea. The vessel was detained in July when a search revealed it was carrying weapons from Cuba.
N Korea ship free to leave Panama; fine paid - Israel News, Ynetnews
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