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North Korea Missile Threat Video; Missiles Found in Sugar Hold Coming Out of Cuba; Ship Captain Tries To Commit Suicide (Video)

By Staff Writer | July 17, 2013 09:00 AM EDT

North Korea sparked a new missile scare after the Coast Guard found “undeclared weapons of war" hidden under shipment of brown sugar that was coming out of communist Cuba. One of the North Korean ships was caught in the Panama Canal trying to sneak "sophisticated" weapons in a shipment of sugar. The captain of the North Korean ship tried to kill himself instead of facing punishment in Panama or facing North Korean dictator Kim Jong un. The seizure raises new fears that Kim Jong Un is continuing with nuclear missile plans. He threatened to launch strikes at the United States and South Korea earlier this year.

After North Korea’s missile threat was uncovered, violence broke out among the 35-strong crew after the North Korean ship was raided. Military equipment was found buried under sacks of sugar on a North Korean ship seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal by Coast Guards. The ship was identified as the 14,000-ton Chong Chon Gang, which had departed Cuba en route to North Korea. 35 North Koreans were arrested after resisting police efforts to intercept the ship in Panamanian waters last week.

Panama's president Ricardo Martinelli told Radio Panama, "The world needs to sit up and take note: you cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal. "We had suspected this ship, which was coming from Cuba and headed to North Korea, might have drugs aboard so it was brought into port for search and inspection. When we started to unload the shipment of sugar we located containers that we believe to be sophisticated missile equipment, and that is not allowed."

Cuba said the military equipment was obsolete weaponry from the mid-20th century that it had sent to be repaired. Authorities in Panama said it could take a week to search the ship. Javier Carballo, Panama’s top narcotics prosecutor said they have requested help from United Nations inspectors, along with Colombia and Britain. They have only examined one of the ship’s five container sections. North Korea is barred by U.N. sanctions from importing sophisticated weapons or missiles.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said that the ship was carrying missiles and other arms “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.” A photo tweeted by Martinelli showed a green tube that appears to be a horizontal antenna for the SNR-75 “Fan Song” radar, which is used to guide missiles fired by the SA-2 air-defence system found in former Warsaw Pact and Soviet-allied nations.

Neil Ashdown, an analyst for IHS Jane’s Intelligence said “It is possible that this could be being sent to North Korea to update its high-altitude air-defence capabilities.” Jane’s Intelligence also said the equipment could be headed to North Korea to be upgraded.

North Korea has not made a comment on the seizure, but Cuba’s Foreign Ministry released a statement late acknowledging that the military equipment belonged to the communist nation “The agreements subscribed by Cuba in this field are supported by the need to maintain our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty.”

The U.N. Security Council imposed four rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions against North Korea since its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006.

 by Tony Sokol

Tagged :  world news, north, korea, missile, threat, panama, canal

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