MTCR Criticizes Missile Proliferators
At the conclusion of its meeting in Seoul, the Missile Technology Control Regime issued a statement critical of countries suspected of developing nuclear capable missiles, according to Space Daily. The MTCR said:
“Partners expressed their serious concerns over missile proliferation in Northeast Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, and reaffirmed their determination to continue discouraging missile programs and activities of proliferation concern.”
Reportedly the meeting especially focused on missile proliferation by Iran, Syria, India and North Korea. I think they also should have focused on Pakistan; it would be interesting to know if the US blocked that because of its need for Pakistani cooperation in the war on terrorism. The conference came amid growing concerns about North Korea’s missile development. Pyongyang stunned the world in August 1998 by test-launching over Japan a Taepodong-1 missile with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. Of course, Pakistan tested its Hatf-V missile with a range of about 1,500 kilometers during the meeting.
“Since the 1998 launch, there has been no information on North Korea’s new missile development but it is always possible because North Korea could develop new missiles without [test firing],” said the meeting chairman Oh Joon, a director general of South Korea’s foreign ministry. North Korea declared a moratorium on missile tests in September 1999 and in May 2001 extended the decision until 2003 and beyond. But the cash-strapped country has refused to stop missile exports, a major source of hard currency earnings.
The MTCR was established in 1987 to control exports of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.