China is dismissing the significance of a United Nations report saying North Korea is still selling ballistic missile technology to Middle East countries in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
At a Foreign Ministry briefing Tuesday, spokeswoman Jiang Yu pointed out that the report has not been adopted by the U.N. Security Council, where China has a veto. She also noted reports that the document was not signed by a Chinese representative on the seven-member panel of experts that prepared it.
The still-secret document was submitted to the Security Council last week but cannot be made public without the unanimous consent of the council's 15 members. Diplomats said China was blocking release of the report and had pressured the Chinese expert not to sign it.
The report, prepared by a panel that monitors the implementation of U.N. sanctions, also said North Korea has transported banned technology to Iran through an unnamed third country. Jiang refused to comment Tuesday on claims that China is that unnamed country.
The U.N. report, which has been made available to several major news organizations, charges that banned technology was transferred aboard regular air flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air - North Korea's and Iran's national airlines.
The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea after two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. Iran is also under international sanctions because of its uranium enrichment activities, which the United States and its allies suspect are weapons-related. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
China has in the past attempted to block reports critical of North Korea, and Russia acted last week to block an expert panel report on Iran. Both Moscow and Beijing have argued that the United Nations should not impinge on the sovereignty of member countries.