North Korea may have exported missile parts in violation of a weapons export ban imposed by the U.N. Security Council, U.N. sources said Tuesday.
Hundreds of graphite cylinders, which can be used in ballistic missiles, were found by South Korean officials aboard a Chinese freighter bound for Syria from North Korea in May, the sources said.
An experts' panel evaluating the implementation of Security Council sanctions on North Korea revealed the discovery in a recent interim report, according to the sources.
The Dong-A Ilbo, a major South Korean newspaper, said in its Wednesday edition that about 400 cylinders were found after the Chinese freighter berthed at South Korea's Busan Port.
South Korean authorities have confiscated the cylinders, the paper said.
The Security Council sanctions committee for North Korea suspects Pyongyang has continued illegal arms exports even after the council strengthened its sanctions in response to a long-range ballistic missile launch in April, the newspaper said.
China also will come in for criticism for violating Security Council resolutions if the cylinders are confirmed to be North Korean products, it added.