Iraq, and North Korea are an Axis of Evil, then China must be the Limited-Slip Differential of the Axis of Evil:
North Korea and Iran appear to have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report obtained by Reuters on Saturday. The report said the illicit technology transfers had “trans-shipment through a neighboring third country.” That country was China, several diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity. [Reuters]
China is a member in good standing of the U.N. Security Council notwithstanding the fact that its conduct aided and abetted the violation of at least four Security Council resolutions it voted for (1695, 1718, and 1874, linked on my sidebar, and 1737). Just to put all of this in perspective, the Security Council is a law-giving body where the members who make the rules can pretty much freely break them. Think of it as a little like the House Ways and Means Committee, only without mid-term elections, only five members, no accountability whatsoever, and vast consequences for the security of billions of people.
“Prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Islamic Republic of Iran on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air,” the report said. “For the shipment of cargo, like arms and related materiel, whose illicit nature would become apparent on any cursory physical inspection, (North) Korea seems to prefer chartered cargo flights,” it said. It added that the aircraft tended to fly “from or to air cargo hubs which lack the kind of monitoring and security to which passenger terminals and flights are now subject.”
Several Security Council diplomats said China was unhappy about the report and would likely not agree to release it to the public. At the moment, only the 15 council members have official access to the document. One of the experts on the panel is from China and diplomats said he never endorsed the report, which was delivered to the Security Council on Friday. His refusal to endorse the report delayed its submission for around 24 hours, diplomats said.
Sure, you say, but that still doesn’t prove that the Chinese knew anything. I mean, it’s not as if North Korean planes loaded with missile parts were landing at the Beijing Airport en route to Tehran while Condi Rice was sending the Chinese government angry cables asking them to seize the planes, is it? Oh, right. I guess it kinda is like that. Never mind.
So what was China’s response? The traditional one:
The report was submitted to Security Council members over the weekend, but had been delayed for days before that after the Chinese expert on the panel refused to sign off on the report. “The Chinese expert refused to sign the report, under pressure from Beijing, and this raises serious issues about a panel of experts that is supposed to be free from political interference,” said a senior United Nations diplomat, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue. [N.Y. Times]
China has a history of using its misbegotten seat on the Security Council to block reports that criticize North Korea, Sudan, and itself.