Analysis: What about N. Korea's missile sales?

It was difficult to cite an commitment to cease exporting missile technology to the Middle East.

October 22, 2005 04:16
2 minute read.


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The impact of North Korea's decision to give up its quest for nuclear weapons, while positive for world peace, would have been greater if it also included a vow to halt missile technology proliferation. Israel is not being threatened either directly or indirectly by North Korea's nuclear program. But it certainly is on the targeted end of its ambitious ballistic missile program that has provided Arab states and Iran with know-how that has allowed them to amass an arsenal of Scud and Shihab rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv. Cutting through the dramatic announcement, it was difficult to cite an commitment by Pyongyang to cease exporting missile technology to the Middle East. North Korea has delivered to Egypt and Iran No Dong 1,200-kilometer range surface-to-surface missile technology. Syria is also reportedly seeking to procure No Dongs to improve its already large Scud C and D arsenal, which is based on North Korean designs. North Korean missile scientists have been the main providers of missile technology to Israel's enemies for years, aiding Iran with warheads capable of delivering nuclear bombs. Without moves to halt this proliferation of missile technology, it is too early to tell if this agreement is profitable for Israel. Furthermore, North Korea has in the past broken agreements. The main task is for the US to be assured that Pyongyang is keeping its word. "Nevertheless, I think it is an excellent agreement and a very positive step. If they keep to the agreement, it will quiet in the Far East and that is good for the world," said Ephraim Asculai, an expert on proliferation and control of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. Analysts were uniform in their prediction the North Korean agreement would put Iran under increased pressure to back off its nuclear ambitions. They are now the sole signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that has earned the world's wrath by blocking true inspection of its nuclear facilities. Iran loses a fellow nuclear rogue state at a time as it faces a serious threat of sanctions by the UN Security Council.

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