Saturday 15 December 2018

N Korea denies Syria link

Current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Stock photo)
Current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Stock photo)

Julian Ryall Tokyo

North Korea has hit back at claims it supplied Syria with equipment to manufacture chemical weapons, accusing the United States and United Nations of "cooking up" allegations as part of the effort to tighten sanctions on Pyongyang.

State media has also hit back at Washington, reiterating the North's long-held assertion that the US used biological and chemical weapons against civilians during the Korean War.

Quoting an official of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's Institute for American Studies, the Korea Central News Agency said the US was perpetrating a "preposterous fabrication yet again".

'The New York Times' reported this week that a confidential 200-page report by a UN panel claimed Pyongyang shipped components for making chemical weapons to Syria, including acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers. The report added that North Korean technicians had also been identified working at chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

North Korea dismissed the report, although intelligence experts estimate the North has weaponised stockpiles of as many as 25 chemical agents, including sarin and VX nerve gas.

"As has been elucidated several times, the DPRK does not have a single record of developing, producing and stockpiling a chemical weapon and it is opposed to chemical weapons," KCNA quoted the ministry official as saying.

The US has "egged the UNSC Sanctions Committee on" to claim a link between North Korea and Syria, the official said, adding that the allegation is designed to build additional support for Washington's proposal for a "full-scale sea blockade" of the North and a "military invasion into Syria".

KCNA repeated the regime's claim the US used biological and chemical weapons during the Korean War. "The US is none other than the first user of chemical weapons in the world and that it is a criminal state … having massacred 50,000 innocent people in the northern half of the DPRK," it said.

"It should also see clearly that it is a cancer of global peace as a biggest supplier of weapons in the world."

The US has denied the claims.

Irish Independent

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