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Military Monitors Potential North Korean Weapons Proliferation

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 – The U.S. military plays a role in the monitoring of North Korean actions that may violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that prohibits North Korea from weapons proliferation, a senior Pentagon official said here today.

The United Nations has banned North Korea from exporting its weapons technology -- such as its missile expertise – to other countries. The North Korean government, which also is suspected of developing nuclear weapons, has conducted several ballistic-missile tests in recent weeks.

“The United States is fulfilling its obligations,” spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters, as part of U.N. efforts designed to prevent North Korea from providing its military expertise to other nations.

“We have a role in that [effort],” Whitman continued. “We have certain capabilities and resources.”

Whitman noted that at a Pentagon news conference yesterday, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, voiced concerns about alleged military ties between North Korea and Burma, especially potential arms shipments that would violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. Keating told reporters his command is capable of closely tracking potential shipments of North Korean-supplied weapons to Burma, which is governed by a military junta.

“We are, obviously, watching North Korea closely from many different aspects: the proliferation aspect, shipping, as well as monitoring missile activities,” Whitman said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is traveling in the Pacific region, he pointed out. “She is carrying very strong messages this government and many countries around the world have [expressed] for some time about North Korean behavior,” Whitman said.

North Korea had removed itself from multi-party talks that sought to establish a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, Whitman said, U.S. military assets “continue to watch” and monitor North Korean activities that may violate the U.N. resolution.

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