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China should crack down on nuclear smuggling to North Korea

“China does not place enough of a priority on counter-proliferation intelligence. According to Western intelligence officials, Chinese intelligence agencies do not allocate enough resources to understanding and detecting illicit nuclear trade conducted by North Korea and Iran inside China. In addition, the government has not done enough to investigate the export violations of which it is aware.”

Letter from China: Lips and Teeth : The New Yorker, November 24, 2010 by Evan Osnos “…..according to David Albright and Paul Brannan of the the Institute for Science and International Security, North Korea relies on smuggling networks in which it “procures for its uranium enrichment program either from China or by using it as a transshipment point.”

In a report last month titled “Taking Stock: North Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Program,” the authors detailed key supply routes for illicit technology, and as they put it, “From 2007 to 2009, North Korea entities obtained state-of-the-art computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines via China needed to make centrifuge parts, according to a European intelligence official.”

Is China deliberately aiding this trade? Albright and Brannan don’t think so.

China is unlikely to view North Korea’s continued illicit procurement for its nuclear program as strengthening Chinese national security interests. Likewise, there is no evidence that the Chinese government is secretly approving these exports to North Korea’s centrifuge program in an effort to strengthen North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Instead, the authors argue, “China does not place enough of a priority on counter-proliferation intelligence. According to Western intelligence officials, Chinese intelligence agencies do not allocate enough resources to understanding and detecting illicit nuclear trade conducted by North Korea and Iran inside China. In addition, the government has not done enough to investigate the export violations of which it is aware.”

Letter from China: Lips and Teeth : The New Yorker

November 30, 2010 - Posted by | China, secrets,lies and civil liberties |

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