Thursday, January 29, 2004

Nigeria/North Korea axis?

Nigeria might have some interest in buying missiles from North Korea. At least, they have enough interest to allow a representative from North Korea come to them and make a pitch.

The United States on Wednesday cautioned Nigeria against dealing with North Korea, after an envoy from the Stalinist state peddled advanced missile technology during a visit to Abuja.

The State Department said it had seen reports of the episode, but also noted Nigeria's hints that it had no interest in buying ballistic technology from Pyongyang.

"We'd welcome a decision to turn down any such offers from North Korea," said spokesman Richard Boucher.

"We want to stop North Korea's missile activities. And we've gone to many countries to try to encourage them not to buy. So that would be the right decision, if that's indeed the decision they've made."

A spokesman for Nigeria's Vice President Atiku Abubakar earlier said that Pyongyang wanted to sign a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria on developing missile technology, training and the manufacturing of ammunition.

"They were just trying to get us interested. There hasn't been any interest shown on our side," Onu Kaba Ojo said.

I'm unclear as to what Nigeria thinks it would gain from such a step. It certainly wouldn't make the US, Japan, and South Korea happy, and it might even peeve the Chinese. This also begs the question: doesn't Nigeria have anything better to spend their money on? Perhaps the North Koreans are selling the missiles dirt cheap, which would further prove their absolute desperation.

The NY Times has this:

North Korea has offered to share missile technology with Nigeria, and the two countries are expected to sign a preliminary agreement soon, a Nigerian government spokesman said Wednesday.

The United States said it would encourage Nigeria to reject any arms deals with the Communist government of North Korea.

A memorandum of understanding is being discussed between the Nigerian vice president, Atiku Abubakar, and his North Korean counterpart, Yang Hyong Sop, who is on a five-day visit to Nigeria.


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