The overly optimistic ink barely tried on the latest Syrian ceasefire resolution before it (predictably) failed on Tuesday as the Syrian government’s shelling continued to bombard rebel-held neighborhoods — despite hundreds of civilian deaths from last week’s airstrikes. On that note, it appears that last April’s government-led chemical attack on civilians, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called “100% fabrication,” may have been aided not only by the usual suspect (Russia) but North Korea as well.
The New York Times has reviewed a report by U.N. experts showing that North Korea has been supplying the Syrian government with a number of items used for producing chemical weapons. The process has not been isolated but ongoing (running from 2012 to 2017) through at least 40 shipments containing ballistic missile components as well as the following items:
The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators. North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.
The report highlights the potential danger posed by any such trade between Syria and North Korea, which could allow Syria to maintain its chemical weapons while also providing North Korea with cash for its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea’s own civilians are in dire straits, so it’s not as if Kim Jong-un’s regime would be opposed to aiding the Syrian government carry out its own humanitarian crimes. In addition, Pyongyang is certainly cash-strapped enough (in part due to U.S. and U.N.-leveled sanctions) to happily accept money from another government. As if on cue, Business Insider is reporting that North Korea is also selling electricity (despite its own chronic power shortages, which plunge the country into darkness at night) to China for cash payments of up to $100,000 per month.
In related news, President Trump caught wind of South Korea’s report that North Korea is “willing” to talk to the U.S. and has issued a brief response. On Monday, Trump stated, “We want to talk also … only under the right conditions … Otherwise, we’re not talking.” And the East-West rap beef continued.