South Korea has requested that China review claims that it potentially violated UN sanctions by providing North Korea with a missile launcher which it displayed last weekend, a senior Seoul official told South Korean Yonhap News Agency Friday.
Last Sunday, North Korea unveiled a new long-range ballistic missile and launcher as part of a mass military parade. Various experts have suggested that the design of the new vehicle comes from a Chinese truck factory that produces such launchers.
This weapons technology aid could violate UNSC resolutions of 2006 and 2009 banning the transfer of any arms-related materials to North Korea.
China categorically denies any violations.
"We are asking the Chinese side to verify the claims with regard to the North Korean truck launcher through a diplomatic channel," the foreign ministry official told Yonhap on the condition of anonymity.
South Korean officials are reviewing pictures of the North's new truck launcher, but the claims "have not been verified yet," the official said.
The incident surrounding the new ballistic missile on Sunday, came just two days after North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket ended in failure. The launch failed when the rocket exploded and crashed only minutes after take-off.
Pyongyang had defied international pressure from the United States, the United Nations and others to push ahead with the launch timed to celebrate the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, the deceased founder of the state, and to coincide with the ascent to power of his grandson Kim Jong-un.
Even close ally China had warned against the launch and South Korean intelligence officials have said North Korea may be ready to follow it up with a nuclear test as it did after a rocket launch in 2009, even though it could face more United Nations sanctions if it did.
The launch breached the terms of a recent aid deal struck with the United States as well as United Nations sanctions. Washington, Tokyo and Seoul issued sharp rebukes and said they would step up cooperation and vigilance.
"Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
North Korea said it wanted the Unha-3 rocket to put a weather satellite into orbit, although critics believed it was designed to enhance its capacity to design a ballistic missile to deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the continental United States.