United Nations links N.Korea to Syria chemical weapons

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But on Monday, Trump hinted that the United States might be willing to join South Korea in talks with the North, but only, in his words, "under the right conditions".

North Korea is under worldwide sanctions over its nuclear programme.

That North Korea continues to do brisk business with other rogue states despite being subject to perhaps the tightest sanctions regime ever imposed on any country illustrates the limitations, and even downsides, of punishing rogue states by cutting them out of the legitimate global marketplace.

The United Nations has shared a yet-unreleased report with U.S. newspapers contending that North Korea has been sending material to Syria to make chemical weapons, but Rick Sterling of the Syria Solidarity Movement says there is good reason to be skeptical, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

United States media reported a Chinese trading firm working on behalf of Pyongyang made five shipments in late 2016 and early 2017 of high-heat, acid-resistant tiles, stainless-steel pipes and valves to Damascus. The intelligence source told the BBC, the Syrian government's allies, Iran and Russian Federation, are well aware of the manufacturing of chemical weapons at these facilities.

The SSRC is promoted by the Syrian government as a civilian research institute but a Western intelligence agency told the BBC previous year that chemical weapons were being manufactured at three SSRC sites - Masyaf, in Hama province, and at Dummar and Barzeh, both just outside Damascus.

What could be better to beat the drum for regime change than tying North Korean missiles to Syria and chemical weapons?

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The Syrian government has refuted the report, saying the only North Koreans they have in their country are athletes and sport coaches.

The report outlines at least 40 unreported shipments of possible chemical weapons components made between 2012 and 2017. They are allegedly part of dozens of shipments over several years.

Syria surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.

On Tuesday, news surfaced that North Korea traded ballistic missile parts and apparent chemical weapons supplies with Syria.

But Western officials and nonproliferation experts have long suspected that Assad retains some chemical weapons. The claims came amid recent reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria's bombarded eastern Ghouta.

According to intelligence sources, chemical weapons are being manufactured at three SSRC research facilities, two of which are just outside of the Damascus, the Syrian capital. As mentioned by BBC news, more than 80 people were killed in a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria on the 4 of April. Accusing Damascus, the U.S. then launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, taking the lives of about 20 people including both Syrian soldiers and civilians.

Why is North Korea's involvement controversial? It says North Korean missile experts were seen working at Syrian chemical weapons and missile factories.