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China dismisses UN missile report on N.Korea, Iran

18 may 2011, 16:04
Beijing on Wednesday denied a United Nations panel report indicating that prohibited missile technology was shared by North Korea and Iran through a third country that diplomats have said was China, AFP reports.

"I totally deny such reports," Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue told reporters.

Hu had been asked to comment on a UN sanctions report -- which Beijing is reportedly seeking to block -- that says Tehran and Pyongyang are suspected of sharing ballistic missile technology.

The report, excerpts of which were provided to AFP, said prohibited material was moved through an unnamed "neighbouring third country" that diplomats have identified as China, isolated North Korea's closest ally.

Diplomats also said a Chinese representative on a UN panel of seven experts on North Korea nuclear sanctions refused to sign on to the report.

Hu declined to give further comment on the issue.

"Prohibited ballisticm issile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air," the report said.

Air Koryo and Iran Air are the national airlines of North Korea and Iran.

Iran, which also counts China as a key ally, rejected the allegations on Tuesday.

"We have always rejected as propaganda and fabrications (reports) of cooperation between us and North Korea on the transfer of technology or transfer of ballistic missile components," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in Tehran.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea after it carried out two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, banning it from dealing in nuclear and ballistic material.

Iran also faces sanctions over its nuclear programme.

US diplomatic cables released by the whistle-blower site Wikileaks late last year said US intelligence believes Iran had obtained equipment from North Korea for advanced missiles that could strike Europe.

The cables also said the United States had urgently demanded that Beijing interdict related shipments. The documents did not say whether any action was taken by China.

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