SEOUL, April 9 (UPI) -- North Korea tried to sell its submarine technology to Taiwan in 2016, according to Taiwanese media.
Taiwan's UP Media reported a Taiwanese trading company that "frequently dealt with North Korea" notified local military authorities they were approached by the North Koreans regarding weapons.
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the North Koreans made the proposition three years ago, UP Media reported Tuesday.
The report stated the trading firm received a "mandate" from North Korea's national defense commission. The Taiwanese entity also received documents on "shark-class and salmon-class" subs.
North Korea told the firm it was willing to sell its air-independent propulsion technology. AIP is a marine propulsion technology that allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen.
According to UP Media, a Taiwanese submarine expert visited the Chinese border city of Dandong to meet with North Korean representatives, but the deal did not move forward because of sanctions.
Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said it was highly unlikely Taiwan would have actually purchased North Korean submarine technology, according to Radio Free Asia.
Taiwan was looking for military contractors that could help the country build submarines in 2016, the same year Tsai Ing-wen was elected president.
The country is expected to complete designs on a new submarine by March 2020 and finish its first submarine by 2025. The goal is to build a fleet of eight submarines.
Sanctions against North Korea have placed restrictions against various types of trade.
Pyongyang's propaganda service Uriminzokkiri condemned embargoes and criticized South Korea for not doing more for North Korea sanctions relief on Tuesday.
Uriminzokkiri also condemned Seoul for disclosing the state of North Korean railroads to the South Korean public.
Seoul had reported the railroads were in poor condition following an inter-Korea inspection.