A confidential report came last August from the United States to Cairo, warning the latter about a highly suspicious ship steaming towards the Suez Canal, Middle East Eye reported. Flying Cambodian colors, “Jie Shun”, sailed for Kim Jong-un’s regime. The bulk freighter had a North Korean crew and carried an unidentified cargo, which was covered by heavy tarps.

The surprising buyers of North Korea’s weapons

Even before “Jie Shun” reached the waters of Egypt, customs agents had already waited for the freight.

And after swarming the mysterious ship, the customs agents searched the vessel and were to uncover a cache of over 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades, which was hidden under bins of iron ore. According to the UN report, this was conclusively the biggest apprehension of ammunition in the history of sanctions against Kim Jong-un’s regime, The Washington Post reported.

Eventually, the buyers of the ammunition were found out: the Egyptians themselves. An investigation by the United Nations revealed that Egyptian business executives made a clandestine arrangement with North Korea. They purchased millions of dollars worth of North Korean rockets allegedly for the military of Egypt. This particular transaction between Egypt and Kim’s regime secretly went about until US intelligence discovered it.

Egypt’s defense

Some details of this incident were never made public.

The “Jie Shun” case stirred extreme complaints from the United States over Egypt’s moves towards obtaining banned military hardware from North Korea, The Washington Post reported.

Karim Saad, the spokesperson for the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, explained that the Egyptian government would continue to adhere to all resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. He further said that Egypt would always conform to the UNSC resolutions because purchasing military weapons from the communist regime was strictly restrained in Egypt. Saad emphasized the transparency of the Egyptian government and pointed to the country’s collaboration with the officials of the United Nations in their goal to find and destroy the contraband.

However, the top government officials of the United States told The Washington Post that the delivery of the North Korean rockets was thwarted only after the US intelligence agencies detected the bulk freight and then alerted Egyptian authorities. As a result, Egypt was essentially forced to take action.