(Adds Chinese Foreign Ministry comment)
SEOUL, April 18 (Reuters) - North Korea used Chinese-made
trucks to display missiles at a massive military parade last
week, according to photographs released by state media,
underlining the difficulty in enforcing U.N. sanctions against
the isolated state.
At Saturday's parade to mark the 105th birth anniversary of
founder president Kim Il Sung, North Korea displayed six
Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) for the
first time, towed behind trucks painted in North Korean navy
In the photographs, the logo of Chinese firm Sinotruk can be
seen on the vehicles.
Last year, Reuters reported that North Korea was using
Sinotruk HOWO trucks to display a new mobile artillery system.
A Sinotruk sales official said on Tuesday he was not aware
the company's trucks had been used in this year's parade.
"From my understanding, we haven't had any business with the
North Korean market since last year; North Korea has never been
a major focus of ours," said the official, who gave only his
last name, Gu.
"It may have been from before then and they refitted it
China and North Korea maintain "normal contacts, including
normal business contacts", said Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Lu Kang, when asked about the trucks.
"At the same time, as a permanent member of the U.N.
Security Council, China strictly adheres to its international
responsibilities, including those from Security Council
resolutions," Lu told a daily news briefing.
Since 2006, it has been against United Nations sanctions to
ship military hardware into North Korea but control of equipment
and vehicles that have "dual-use" military and civilian
applications has been far less stringent.
It is also much harder to track.
North Korean state media has in the past released images of
Sinotruk chassis and cabins in propaganda related to
construction or mining.
A U.N. report which noted the use of the trucks in the
display of mobile artillery last year did not name Sinotruk, but
said that the Chinese seller had included a "clear clause" in
its deal with the North Korean buyer that the trucks were to be
for civilian use only.
North Korea also appeared to reveal two new types of
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during Saturday's
parade. One was mounted on a large off-road truck which was
identified in an earlier U.N. report as being of Chinese origin.
In a 2010 statement sent to China, North Korea's forestry
ministry said the trucks were bought to transport timber,
according to the U.N. report.
The second of the two ICBMs was mounted on a North
Korean-branded "Taekpaeksan" military truck which used tyres
made by China-based Triangle Group, according to photos of the
parade seen by Reuters.
Triangle Group, a major tyre manufacturer headquartered in
Weihai, a port city in eastern Shandong province, said it was
not aware its tyres had been used in the military parade.
"It's possible they were resold from somewhere else," an
official from Triangle's export department said.
(Additional reporting by Philip Wen and Christian Shepherd in
BEIJING; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)