April 19 (UPI) — Trucks used to haul missiles at North Korea’s military parade on Saturday may be of Russian origin.
Pyongyang could also have breached a contract with a Russian firm by converting the trucks for military use, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday, local time.
The trucks were used to transport North Korea’s new intercontinental ballistic missiles at the parade.
A South Korean government official who spoke to the JoongAng on the condition of anonymity said the “transporter erector launchers” used to carry the ICBMs was identified as the Taebaeksan-96.
“The ‘Taebaeksan-96’ was built in collaboration with a Russian company for civilian purposes, to use it for the military is illegal,” the official said.
According to the JoongAng, an expert panel report from the U.N. sanctions committee on North Korea issued in February stated the Taebaeksan trucks were similar to a series of Russian vehicles, after they were seen at a military parade in 2015.
The truck may also have been used as a launch vehicle for North Korea’s test of a KN-06 surface-to-air missile on April 2, 2016.
A Russian truck company began working with North Korea on an assembly plant launched in 2007, according to the report.
The Pyongsong Automobile Assembly Plant began building a medium-sized truck called the Taebaeksan-96, and afterward North Korea copied the model to begin its own production line of a similar truck.
Between 2006 and 2010, the Russian truck company requested its North Korea counterpart “Busen” to not use the jointly produced truck for the military but the request was ultimately ignored, according to the JoongAng.
Busen may be an abbreviation for Choson Busong Company.
United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolution 2270, adopted in March 2016, bans shipments of items for military use to North Korea.
A total of 156 truck assembly “kits” were sent to North Korea for production.
On Wednesday Russia opposed a Security Council statement, proposed by the United States that would condemn North Korea’s missile tests.
“Russia is slowing this down, and it is not clear why,” one diplomat told CBS News. “The U.S. wanted to get the message out.”