US Ally Egypt Caught Sneaking $23 Million Weapons Purchase From North Korea


However, the foreign ministry said that the shipment was confiscated and then destroyed in the presence of a United Nations committee that supervises the application of United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

The UN's subsequent investigation revealed a complex network by which Egyptian business executives were able to make hidden transactions to purchase millions of dollars worth of North Korean arms, allegedly for the country's military, the Post reported citing USA officials and Western diplomats familiar with the findings.

Egyptian customs agents were waiting when the ship entered Egypt's waters outside of the Suez Canal.

A man passes by a TV news program showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, May 21, 2017.

- The weapons found include 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades from the cold war era.

North Korean rifles have even been found on the bodies of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, although according to U.S. officials, they were probably stolen from stocks sold long ago to the late Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. To top it all off, they like to rip off their customers-the rocket grenades on the Jie Shun dated to the 1960s, but were stamped with March 2016 manufacturing dates.

The weapons were made in North Korea, states the report. Egypt possesses Korea military hardware. Russian Federation and China do not really supply such old-fashioned hardware anymore, so North Korea has cornered the market.

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"Egyptian authorities confiscated and destroyed the shipment in the presence of a team of experts from the 1718 committee overseeing the UNSC sanctions on North Korea", Abu-Zeid told AFP.

According to officials who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity, the Jie Shun incident is one of many secretive deals behind the Trump administration's decision over the summer to freeze almost $300 million in military aid to Egypt.

The two countries have enjoyed long-standing economic, diplomatic and military partnership dating back to the 1970s and Egypt is now one of North Korea's leading trade partners in the region. That commander was Hosni Mubarak, who later became the longtime authoritarian ruler of Egypt.

The shipment contained more than 24,000 rocket-propelled grenades, and completed parts for 6,000 more, The Post reported.

Egyptian-owned Orascom was also commissioned to build North Korea's state-owned 3G cell phone network and Cairo has provided North Korea with much-needed hard currency in exchange for training Egyptian scientists in weapons technology.

CNBC speculated in August that the Trump administration might be trying to use Egypt as leverage against North Korea, playing tough with Cairo to put Pyongyang on notice that its access to Egyptian money and ports could be on the line.

"As Egypt's Port Said remains a critical trans-shipment point for North Korean arms exports to Africa, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has upheld his predecessors' North Korea policy and refused to enforce United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang", the Diplomat noted.