NEW YORK--North Korea violated a United Nations Security Council resolution by shipping ballistic missile-related items to war-torn Syria in May, according to sources citing a U.N. midterm report.
The report, which is not for public release, was compiled earlier this month by a panel of experts overseeing the implementation of the Security Council's sanctions.
Sources from Security Council member nations said Pyongyang's action violated the Security Council's resolution that bans North Korea from exporting weapons.
The panel's annual report, released in May, said North Korea shipped arms-related items to Syria in 2007 and 2010.
The midterm report, which was shown to The Asahi Shimbun, indicated that Syria, embroiled in a civil war since March 2011, and North Korea have likely maintained close military ties since the first arms shipment in 2007.
It said the South Korean government discovered and seized graphite cylinders that are used as ballistic missile components during an inspection in May of North Korean cargo bound for Syria.
Seoul informed the Security Council committee that oversees the panel of the incident in June. Panel members visited South Korea from late July to early August and inspected the seized items, according to the report.
Security Council sources said Seoul seized 445 cylinders. The 10 tons of cylinders were disguised as lead pipes.
The midterm report also said that panel members confirmed with Ukrainian authorities that two North Korean intelligence agents were arrested after a failed attempt to obtain ballistic missile technologies from the Ukrainian government.
The results of the panel members' continuing investigations into the two cases are expected to appear in an annual report in May 2013.
The midterm report also touched upon the export from China to North Korea of large, special-purpose vehicles capable of transporting and launching ballistic missiles, which The Asahi Shimbun reported in June.
The U.N. report said Beijing briefed the Security Council in late October, adding that the panel will continue with its investigation into the case.
Beijing told the Security Council committee that the vehicles in question were not for military use, but for lumber transport, Security Council sources said.
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