A glance at seizures of North Korea weapons shipments

North Korea caught selling arms before
North Korea caught selling arms before


    North Korea caught selling arms before


North Korea caught selling arms before 02:51

Story highlights

  • In 2010, Japanese authorities seized what they said was materials for uranium enrichment
  • South Africa tells the U.N. that it seized North Korean weapons bound for the Congo
  • In 2002, a North Korean ship is intercepted in the Gulf of Aden carrying Scud missiles

As Panamanian authorities work to unravel the details surrounding a detained North Korea-flagged cargo ship suspected of carrying military equipment, here's a look at reported seizures of North Korean arms and weapons:



A North Korea shipment of weapons, primarily missile parts, believed to be bound for Syria on a Chinese-flagged ship was intercepted at the Pusan port in South Korean and impounded, Japanese and South Korea media reported, citing unnamed diplomats.

The parts, according to reports, were marked with DPRK, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


A North Korea shipment of materials suitable for uranium enrichment bound for Myanmar was seized by Japanese authorities at a Tokyo port, Asahi Shimbun reported. The shipment, according to the Japanese news agency, included the type of metal pipes and aluminum alloy bars that are needed for centrifuges.



Ukrainian authorities boarded the Chong Chon Gang at the port in Oktyasbrk, where customs officials seized drugs and ammunition, according to the Crimean News Agency, citing maritime officials.



The United Arab Emirates seized a cargo ship at its port in Dubai that authorities say was carrying North Korean weapons bound for Iran, according to state-run media accounts at the time.


South Africa intercepts a shipment of guns, ammunition and tank parts in Durban that officials say were bound from North Korea to the Republic of Congo. The seizure of the weapons, which were in containers lined with sacks of rice, was made public in February 2010 by The Wall Street Journal. The paper obtained a copy of the South African report to the U.N. Security Council.

That same month, Greek authorities seized a North Korean shipment of 14,000 chemical weapons suits, worn for protection during a chemical attack, bound for Syria. The seizure was made public in 2011 when Greece reported it to the Security Council.


Authorities in Thailand seized a cargo plane loaded with North Korean weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, bound for Iran. The seizure was made public in January 2010 after Thai authorities filed a report with the Security Council.



A North Korea cargo vessel bound for Yemen was intercepted by Spanish authorities in the Gulf of Aden, where authorities seized Scud missiles hidden under sack of cement, according to published accounts at the time.

Yemen later demanded delivery of the cargo.