According to an article from The Washington Post, Egypt was caught last August attempting to purchase 30,000 rockets from North Korea in a since foiled deal. The fallout from this has affected the United Nations and Egypt's relationships with both America and North Korea.

How the North Korean ship was caught

In August 2016 a secret message was sent by U.S. intelligence services in Washington D.C. to Cairo alerting them of an unknown vessel named the Jie Shun. The ship was headed toward the famed Suez Canal. It was flying Cambodian colors but had sailed from North Korea with unknown cargo.

When the ship entered Egyptian waters customs agents rushed the vessel and discovered its cargo. Hidden underneath crates of iron ore covered by bulky tarps was over 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

United Nations probe uncovers deal

A United Nations (U.N.) investigation was then launched to find out who the buyers were. The investigation uncovered an elaborate arrangement in which wealthy Egyptian business executives ordered the RPGs for a grand total of $23 million.

These rockets were ordered for the country's military, with great effort made to keep the deal as hidden as possible according to what American officials familiar with the situation told The Washington Post. The U.N.

determined in their investigation that this was “the largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions” against North Korea.

Egypt's relations with America and North Korea

The revelation of this incident has since prompted a number of intense and mostly private American complaints about Egypt's effort to obtain the banned weapons, despite the country saying they cooperated and were transparent with officials from the U.N.

However, American officials with knowledge of the situation say Egypt only acted because they were basically forced to. These same officials told The Washington Post that this was only one of a number of shady deals that caused the Trump administration to delay $300 million in military aid to the country this summer, some of which was later cut.

Last month it was reported by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency that Egypt cut military ties with North Korea. The country's defense minister made the announcement during his visit to Seoul. Speculation is that Egypt got the message that it cannot have military relations with both America and North Korea, so they cut ties with the latter.