Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepgaelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Audio/Video 
Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 06:21 GMT
US anger over fighter sales
Ageing MiG-21s will not affect the Korean peninsula's balance of power

The United States has imposed sanctions against companies in Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic for selling MiG fighter aircraft to North Korea.

The 40 jets, all built in the 1960s, were delivered to the authorities in Pyongyang earlier this year.

The two companies involved - Metallist from Uralsk, Kazakhstan, and the Czech firm, Agroplast - are now barred from exporting to the United States and from buying American-related munitions items.

The sanctions are expected to last for about a year but the State Department said it was also considering other unspecified measures.

When news of the sale broke in August, sanctions were also briefly applied to the Kazakh Government.

Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev sacked defence minister
However, they were waived after President Nazarbayev fired his defence minister and head of national security and co-operated with an American investigation into the deal.

The BBC State Department correspondent says Washington's decision sends a message to any other organisations contemplating arms deals with North Korea that they will face American penalties.

Kazakhstan's intelligence service said on Wednesday it had completed an investigation into the illegal sale, and that senior officials were suspected of involvement.

The officials may now be put on trial.

The Kazakh National Security Committee said in September that North Korea had paid $8m, of which $1.8m has reportedly been recovered.

US State Department spokesman James Rubin said that because of their age the aircraft were not militarily significant. News of the sale emerged in August.

In a separate incident in March, six MiGs were seized in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

They were also being exported by Metallist and Agroplast, in a Russian transport aircraft, and were suspected of being en route for either Yugoslavia or North Korea.

Azerbaijan later returned the fighters to Kazkakhstan
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

See also:
09 Aug 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Kazakh sackings over plane scandal
13 Aug 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Kazakhstan investigation into planes scandal
06 Sep 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Kazakhstan tightens weapons exports
21 Apr 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Azeris return mystery MIG fighters to Kazakhstan
24 Mar 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Kazakhstan says MiGs held in Baku not for Yugoslavia

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories