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Did China supply N. Korean launcher?

April 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM

SEOUL, April 20 (UPI) -- South Korea has asked China through diplomatic channels whether it supplied a missile launcher shown in North Korean images, an official said Friday.

North Korea displayed a new ballistic missile last Sunday. Two days earlier, a touted launch of a long-range rocket ended with its breaking up within a few minutes.

The senior official at the South Korean Foreign Ministry, who did not want his name used, told the Yonhap news agency South Korea is seeking verification of reports from analysts that the 16-wheel transporter-erector-launcher shown in the images appeared to be of Chinese manufacture. If China supplied the vehicle, it would be in violation of U.N. sanctions that ban the export of military equipment to North Korea.

IHS Jane's Defense Weekly said the launcher, shown in North Korean coverage of preparations for the launch, appeared to be a design from the 9th Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. or from a truck factory that also makes mobile launchers.

The Security Council is reportedly investigating the launch vehicle.

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