Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Reports about the Georgia-based Il-76, its cargo and its Kazakh and Belorussian shepherds have hit other western press outlets, including the Guardian and the Beeb. I’d include links to the stories in The Times of London and Wall Street Journal, but Mr. Murdoch is a little prickly about blogger-types circulating his newspapers’ stuff. Bangkok Post reports that the men stopped at the airport will face criminal charges for lying to Thai authorities, illegal weapons possession and the other venal sins that come with the weapons trafficking racket. JoongAng Daily has a tidy report about the search and seizure. Korea Herald features an editorial-cum-report about the Missile Plane that juxtaposes the incident in Thailand with Ambassador Bosworth’s weighted paper bag tour of the Six Party Talk nations and sanctions miasma.
ITAR-TASS reports the Kazakh Embassy in Thailand refused to comment about the investigation. A Thai police official told the news service: “there are all grounds to say that weapons aboard the IL-76 were loaded in Pyongyang, since the transport had made refuelling at the Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday en route to the DPRK”. A Russian diplomat also told ITAR-TASS of the plane’s origin: “Reporters could make a factual mistake, they evidently meant that the IL-76 was really produced in Russia, but it is out of question that it was registered in Russia,”
Neither KCNA nor any North Korean press has made any statements about the arrest or grounding of the place. KCNA did issue a statement on Sunday entitled, “US to Blame for Nuclear Threat and Proliferation” which could read as an indirect allusion, particularly after KCNA published a fairly mellow statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Ambassador Bosworth’s visit to the DPRK last week.