US to Clarify North Korea’s Deal to Sell Missiles to Egypt
A senior official said the United States signaled on Monday that it would ask Egypt to explain reports that it had concluded a secret deal with North Korea to buy long-range missiles.
"I have to expect that we would raise with the Egyptians these reports and find out from them what they have to say about them," the unnamed senior official from the State Department was quoted by AFP as saying.
The US action came after statements and reports - by a diplomatic source - were made available on the front page of one of the major North Korean newspapers.
The diplomatic source, who asked not to be named, was quoted by the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper as saying that "North Korea concluded the transaction secretly with Egypt earlier this year," to sell medium-range missiles and related technology to Egypt.
The United States has expressed serious concern about North Korea's missile program, one of the few sources of foreign currency for the impoverished Stalinist state, and the administration of former president Bill Clinton fell just short of concluding a pact to end it late last year, said the agency.
The Haaretz newspaper reported four months ago that Pyongyang had sold No Dong missiles and possibly manufacturing technology to Cairo.
The No Dong was developed by North Korea in the late 1980s and has a range of 1,000 kilometers.
Egypt also has Russian-made Scud missiles, but the Scud, with a range of 300 kilometers, is not capable of countering the arsenals of most of Egypt's neighbors, particularly Israel, according to the North Korean paper.
The United States has been reluctant to sell long-range missiles to Egypt because of Washington's alliance with Israel, it noted.
Egyptian authorities approached North Korea about buying the missiles after trying for years to purchase longer-range weapons from European nations and the US, the North Korean diplomatic source said – Albawaba.com
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