Source-World Tribune 5/7/2010
TEL AVIV — China, Iran and North Korea have established a strategic alliance that focuses on missile and nuclear development, according to a new report.
The report said that Beijing, Pyongyang and Teheran were helping each other in missile and nuclear programs. The report, titled "China, Iran and North Korea: A Triangular Strategic Alliance," by Israel's GLORIA Center said China and North Korea were the key suppliers of Scud-based ballistic missiles to Iran's military, the target of Western sanctions.
"This flurry of activities underscored the growing proliferation threats posed by DPRK [North Korea] assistance to Iran's missile capabilities, which has also led to collaboration in the nuclear realm," the report, published in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, said.
The report said North Korea helped develop Iran's Shihab ballistic missiles series. Author Christina Lin said North Korea's Taepo Dong intermediate-range missiles have served as the basis of Iran's program, including the design of a nuclear interncontinental ballistic missile with a range of up to 6,000 kilometers, dubbed Shihab-6.
China has sought to make Iran a key waystation in Beijing's silk road policy of expanding influence throughout Asia. The report said Beijing, believed to be channeling aid through neighboring North Korea, regarded Iran as an ally to balance the strategic relationship between the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
"Iran may also be a new pearl in China's maritime pearl necklace," the report said. "China is increasing its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, with a call in December 2009 by Chinese Rear Adm. Yin Zhou to set up a permanent naval base in the Gulf of Aden."
For more, see: String of Pearls by Lt Col Christopher J. Pehrson
The report did not discount the prospect that China would establish a permanent naval base in Iran. Ms. Yin, today a researcher with Jane's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Intelligence Center, said China could be offered a naval base at one of Iran's islands in the Gulf.
"Iran may be inclined to offset U.S. pressure by playing the 'China card' should the United States try to project military power by utilizing some of the UAE's man-made islands," the report said. "Indeed, in November 2009, NATO entered into the advanced stages of negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement with the United Arab Emirates in the face of Iran's nuclear threat."
The report said China was expected to block United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran. Ms. Lin compared China's role to that of Russia's alliance with Serbia when it came under attack by a Western-led coalition in 1999.
Regardless of UN sanctions, North Korea would continue to funnel weapons and technology to Iran, the report said. Ms. Lin said Iran has financed North Korean research and development of ballistic missiles and other strategic systems.
"Iran and DPRK have partnered closely on missile flight-testing, proxy testing of DPRK systems in Iran, and data exchanges," the report said. "Proxy testing in Iran of jointly developed missiles allowed DPRK to avoid sanctions after the September 1999 missile test moratorium while continuing its missile advances."
The report said the Damascus-Pyongyang alliance has spread to Syria and Hizbullah. This has included North Korean construction of an alleged plutonium production plant in Syria as well as constructing tunnels for Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.
"The three top Hizbullah officials who received training in DPRK are Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general and the head of the Hizbullah military organization; Ibrahim Akil, head of Hizbullah's security and intelligence service; and Mustapha Badreddine, Hizbullah's counter-espionage chief," the report said.
See also: North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
Lindsey Williams - Actionable Intelligence
6 years ago