Report: U.N. Finds Cuban Arms Cargo Violates N. Korea Sanctions

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 4, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

A team of U.N. ex­perts re­portedly has con­cluded that a ship­ment of ob­sol­ete Cuban arms in­ter­dicted in Ju­ly en route to North Korea, al­legedly for re­pairs, vi­ol­ated in­ter­na­tion­al sanc­tions, Agence France-Presse re­por­ted last week.

The North Korean Chong Chon Gang cargo ship was seized by Panamani­an au­thor­it­ies as it at­temp­ted to pass through the Panama Canal. A search of the freight­er’s hold un­covered 25 con­tain­ers filled with So­viet-era sys­tems in­clud­ing mis­siles, com­mand-and-con­trol tech­no­logy, and two fight­er jets.

The weaponry “un­doubtedly vi­ol­ates U.N. sanc­tions, which sup­ports the course of ac­tion Panama took,” the Panamani­an pub­lic safety min­istry said in a re­lease, cit­ing a draft re­port by the in­vest­ig­at­ing U.N. team of sanc­tions ex­perts. The in­vest­ig­at­ors wrapped up their in­spec­tion of the cargo in Au­gust.

Cuba has said it was not ex­port­ing the arms to North Korea, merely send­ing them there for an over­haul after which they were to be re­turned to the Carib­bean na­tion. Py­ongy­ang’s pay­ment for this work ap­pears to have been a large ship­ment of ac­com­pa­ny­ing sug­ar.

Sep­ar­ately, the Ja­pan­ese De­fense Min­istry is in­ter­ested in modi­fy­ing its mil­it­ary al­li­ance agree­ment with the United States to al­low for Ja­pan to carry out ad­vance strikes on the mil­it­ary as­sets of en­emy coun­tries, Ky­odo News re­por­ted on Tues­day.

Tokyo and Wash­ing­ton “need to thor­oughly study a pos­sible at­tack on (hos­tile bases) in the event of a mis­sile launch clearly tar­get­ing Ja­pan,” De­fense Min­is­ter It­sun­ori Onodera said, in dis­cuss­ing North Korea’s nuc­le­ar and mis­sile cap­ab­il­it­ies.

Onodera and his U.S. coun­ter­part, De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel, last week in a meet­ing in Brunei de­cided to hold fur­ther bi­lat­er­al de­fense talks on the mat­ter.

What We're Following See More »
Freedom Caucus Members May Bolt the RSC
59 minutes ago

The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.

FDA Approves Emergency Zika Test
2 hours ago

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.

Medicare Advantage Plans Overcharged Government
3 hours ago

According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.

Omnibus Spending Bill Likely Getting a Lame-Duck Vote
3 hours ago

"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.

Foreign Agents Have Hacked State Voting Databases
4 hours ago

"The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems." Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson earlier this month conferred with state election officials, offering his department's assistance in scanning for vulnerabilities."