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kim's nuclear gamble

map - north korea's missile trade
The export of ballistic missiles and related technology is one of North Korea's main sources of hard currency. Media reports estimate that Pyongyang earns an estimated $100 billion to $500 billion per year from missile sales alone -- and according to the CIA, that money fuels continued missile development and production. Here is a map showing where North Korea is exporting missiles and where it gets its missile technology.

Click here to see the interactive version of this map.

who are they?

Countries to whom North Korea sells missiles.

Countries that sell missles to North Korea.

Countries that buy and sell missiles to and from North Korea.

China: China has provided North Korea with dual-use missile-related items, raw materials, and other assistance. It is believed that Chinese technology has been incorporated into North Korea's Scud, Nodong, and Taepodong missiles, and it is suspected that China has also contributed nuclear expertise.

Egypt: In the 1970s and early 1980s, Egypt provided North Korea with technology, including Scud-B short-range ballistic missiles, which North Korea reverse-engineered with help from China and Iran. North Korea has also exported Scuds and other related technology and capabilities to Egypt.

Iran: Iran has sought materials, training, equipment and knowledge from North Korea for its ballistic missiles and conventional weapons programs. According to the CIA, North Korea may be helping Iran develop its own self-sufficient ballistic missiles program. Iran also is suspected of having provided assistance to North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

Iraq: There are unconfirmed reports that Iraq imported Scud and Nodong missiles from North Korea in the 1990s. Iraq also is believed to have bought modified Silkworm anti-ship missiles from North Korea in the late 1970s.

Libya: According to the CIA, North Korean assistance has been "critical" to Libya's development of a ballistic missile program. North Korea has sent Libya Nodong missile components and other technological assistance.

Pakistan: It is believed that North Korea has sent Scuds, Nodongs, and possibly the Taepodong missile to Pakistan in exchange for assistance with its nuclear program. Pakistan, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, denies that it has assisted in North Korea's nuclear program.

Russia: Russia, and the U.S.S.R. before it, has provided North Korea with nuclear expertise and missile technology. According to the CIA, in April 2001, North Korea and Russia signed a Defense Industry and Military-Technical Cooperation Agreement that "lai[d] the groundwork for potential arms sales and transfers to North Korea."

Syria: North Korea is believed to have exported Nodong missiles to Syria and provided equipment and assistance to Syria's liquid-propellant missile program.

Yemen: In a widely publicized December 2002 incident, the U.S. seized 15 Scuds headed to Yemen from an unmarked North Korean vessel in the Arabian Sea. U.S. officials released the missiles after Yemen promised not to let them fall into the hands of terrorists or Saddam Hussein. The U.S. has asked Yemen to stop buying missiles from North Korea.

Sources: CIA, "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015: Unclassified Summary of a National Intelligence Estimate" (December 2001);
CIA, "Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions" (January 2003);
The Center for Nonproliferation Studies, "North Korea Overview";
The National Bureau of Asian Research, "Ballistic Missiles and Missile Defense in Asia" (June 2002)



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