US Confirms Egypt Has
Tested N. Korean Missiles

Special To

The United States has confirmed that Egypt has tested key components of North Korean missiles.
The Bush administration has relayed information to U.S. allies in Asia that North Korea has tested key parts of the intermediate-range No-Dong missile in Egypt.
Officials said tests were designed to determine whether North Korean components and technology could help complete missile programs in Egypt and other Middle East countries.
Officials said most of the tests failed, but would not elaborate. They said this has set back the intermediate-range missile program in Egypt, Middle East Newsline reported.
"We have raised this with the Egyptians," an official said. "We presented them with solid evidence that we obtained over the last few months."
North Korea sent leading missile engineers and technicians to Egypt in 2001 to conduct the experiments, the officials said. They said North Korea, deemed as having the capability of producing missiles with a range of at least 5,000 kilometers, was trying to demonstrate the feasibility of No-Dong technology and components for Egypt's medium-range missile program.
At the same time, officials said, Pyongyang also increased its purchasing mission in Cairo as part of negotiations for the sale of No-Dong components. They said Egypt procured some components but not enough for a missile production or assembly line.
"North Korea is making a major effort to sell its No-Dong and Taepo Dong intermediate-range missiles," a U.S. official said. "Several Middle East countries, such as Egypt, Iran and Libya, are highly interested but they don't want complete missiles, rather technology and key components. What these countries want is North Korean help to establish indigenous missiles based on the No-Dong."
U.S. officials have briefed Congress on Egyptian efforts to acquire No-Dong missiles and engines. They said the Bush administration successfully halted Egypt's plans to obtain 50 No-Dong engines in mid-2001.
Congress, the officials said, was told that Egypt has purchased MAZ-547 trucks from Belarus, North Korea and Ukraine. The six axle-trucks have been used as the chassis for transporter erector launchers for medium- and intermediate-range missiles.
The State Department has rarely provided details of Egyptian-North Korean cooperation. The exception was during a briefing for Asian journalists during a tour of Assistant Secretary of State John Bolton in late August. In a speech in Seoul on Aug. 29, Bolton acknowledged that the United States has failed to halt North Korean exports to a range of Middle East clients.
"It has an impressive list of customers spanning the globe from the Middle East, South Asia to North Africa, with notable rogue-state clients such as Syria, Libya and Iran," Bolton said. "North Korea also is the world's foremost peddler of ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials and technical expertise."
Bolton is responsible for nonproliferation and is regarded as a leading figure in the administration. Officials and analysts said Bolton and other administration representatives have adopted a tougher policy toward Cairo amid differences over proliferation, Sudan and the U.S.-led war against terrorism.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk cited the administration's public rejection of an Egyptian request for $130 million for counterinsurgency missions. Indyk said this was the first time that Washington increased aid to Israel without a commensurate increase for Egypt.
"The strains in the relationship are very much there," Indyk told the Brookings Institute. "There is also a good deal of difference between us and the Egyptian government when it comes to Iraq, or phase two."
A senior State Department official briefed Asian journalists in Seoul on North Korea's efforts in Egypt and Iran. The official said in the Aug. 30 briefing that North Korea has developed missile components with Egypt and Iran and tested them as well as those solely produced by Pyongyang.
"It has been confirmed that North Korea sent its missile technicians to Iran and Egypt to conduct experiments on core parts of the missile over several occasions," the official was quoting as saying.


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