The UN investigative panel is probing allegations that China provided long-range ballistic missile technology to North Korea, in what is likely a breach of UN sanctions, according to an AFP report quoting a defense magazine. North Korea's new missile launcher is allegedly based on Chinese missile technology, the report said.
Military analysts of IHS Jane's Defence Weekly tipped-off the United Nation's panel of experts about a possible transfer of either the technology or the missile itself from China to North Korea.
If the allegations are proved then the transfer of technology would be a serious breach of UN sanctions against North Korea and it might also expose the clandestine association that China has with the North's hermit regime.
The charges are based on the photographs of North Korea's new missile launchers that were displayed in a grand parade organized on the occasion of its founder leader Kim Sung-II's birthday centenary celebrations.
IHS Jane's defense analysts say that one of the missile launchers had Chinese technology in it and the design was very similar to China's military equipments, Pan African News reported.
Until now Iran was suspected of aiding Pyongyang in its nuclear and missile program. New accusations have now exposed the probability of China's role in encouraging North Korea's missile program.
The allegations will be taken seriously by the UN and the world powers, as China has so far claimed to be a genuine negotiator who can reign in Pyongyang. It is also a part of the six-country team of negotiators that discuss nuclear issues with North Korea.
China's credibility will take a massive hit if allegations of a breach of UN sanctions against North Korea are proved to be true.
This would be really big, it really changes things. If China is seen to be violating Security Council sanctions by helping to militarize North Korea it puts China in a different light and changes the diplomatic relations between it and South Korea, Japan and the US, Marcus Noland, an expert on North Korea said to the Pan African News.
However, international experts feel that it would be difficult to implicate China or impose any punitive actions against it. UN investigators will have to definitively prove that the technology was transferred after 2006, when UN sanctions against supplying big military equipment to North Korea came in to effect and that the transfer was not as a commercial purpose vehicle, AFP reported.
There is no doubt it came from China, (but) whether it was produced as a licensed or unlicensed vehicle is an open question, AFP reported quoting Nick Hansen of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation.
China may also escape allegations if it proves that the missile carrier was transferred as a commercial vehicle to North Korea, since sale of commercial vehicles is not covered by the sanctions.