The high-and-mighty United States could certainly lose its foothold in the world affairs. Having said that, any country that runs counter to the US policies, especially President Donald Trump’s allies, will be met with confrontation. That’s exactly the case with US’ Gulf ally, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE is allegedly maintaining a covert weaponry trade with North Korea, which has been sanctioned by the US.
In 2017, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially denounced the launch of intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea into Japan’s economic zone. The UAE called Pyongyang’s actions as a “threat to international security and stability,” urging the nations to uphold international law to thwart nuclear proliferation.
Later, it came out that Abu Dhabi was contradicting its own narrative by holding secret nuclear deals with the US-sanctioned country, North Korea.
According to a leaked US State Department memo, the UAE purchased military weapons, worth $100 million, from North Korea in June 2015. Those weapons were used to support the Saudi-led war in Yemen that killed thousands of civilians, including children.
The UAE maintains good relations with President Trump, but its also sees Pyongyang as an important missile system supplier.
Moreover, the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanted to obviate North Korea from providing advanced military technology to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
UAE’s master plan to avoid US sanctions
To avoid animosity with the United States, UAE carried out its covert military deals with North Korea via diplomatic backchannel. The purchases for nuclear technology were made through private companies to abstain from getting sanctioned by the US.
In 2015, the UAE signed an arms deal with North Korea through an Emirati company named al-Mutlaq Technology, which works in close liaison with both the countries for weaponry transfers.
Leaked documents have also revealed strong links between al-Mutlaq Technology and the International Gold Group (IGG), a prominent arms importer in the UAE. The fact that IGG is run by UAE Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed’s close friend Fadhil Saif al-Kaabi, evoked speculation of UAE’s undeniable involvement in North Korea deals.
Travel of North Korean officials to United Arab Emirates (UAE)
A report by the United Nations Security Council Committee shows UAE’s connections with Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), North Korea’s leading arms dealer and exporter of goods and equipment for ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.
The committee also found that North Korea’s Green Pine Associated Corporation provided support for Pyongyang’s nuclear-related weapons and ballistic missile-related programmes, through illegitimate means.
The UAE officials have managed to sidestep the allegations of Abu Dhabi-Pyongyang nuclear cooperation, however, the Gulf nation is unlikely to suspend arms deal with North Korea. The UAE’s strong-arm, Mohammed bin Zayed has been openly challenging the US sanctions against North Korea, without any repercussions. But, why has the United States remained tight-lipped till now, with all evidences on the table.
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