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Report: North Korea rocket engine includes Ukrainian technology

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: North Korea rocket engine includes Ukrainian technology
Yuzhmash, a state-owned factory in Dnipro, Ukraine, produced the the Soviet-era RD-250. File Photo by Mykhailo Markiv/EPA

March 16 (UPI) -- A rocket engine North Korea used in the test of its intercontinental ballistic missiles may have been of Ukrainian origin, according to a United Nations panel of experts report.

The report, which included information on two Singaporean firms found to have traded luxury goods with the Kim Jong Un regime, states the Ukrainian government said it was "highly likely" the North Korean engine contained separate components of Ukrainian technology, the Soviet-era RD-250, Tass news agency reported Friday.

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Ukraine, however, denied that it had ever "undertaken attempts, signed contracts or entered into relationship with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," according to the report, which was leaked to the media.

Russian experts disagree, and the case is further complicated by the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Decades before Ukrainian independence, the RD-250 engine was designed by the "Scientific and Production Association Energomash," currently in the Russian Federation.

But the design documentation was transferred in 1965 to the Yuzhnoye State Design Office in the Ukraine, according to the report.

The United States and North Korea are expected to hold a summit in May, and Pyongyang has reportedly signaled interest in denuclearization.

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But former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe James Dobbins is skeptical about achieving "verifiable" denuclearization, South Korean newspaper Korea Economic daily reported.

Dobbins told the paper the United States should target instead more achievable aims, including a suspension of ICBM tests and the shutdown of North Korea nuclear facilities.

The Trump administration has previously called for a "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" of North Korea.

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