March 10, 2017 11:16
North Korea last year tried to sell lithium-6, a core material for the production of hydrogen bombs, on an open website, a report by a UN Security Council panel said Thursday.
If the North had enough lithium-6 to sell overseas, it also seems more likely that it really tested a so-called boosted fission nuclear weapon, a precursor to a hydrogen bomb, in tests last year.
Making nuclear weapons with tritiated water using lithium-6 would also make it easier to miniaturize nuclear warheads so they fit on a missile.
The UNSC panel of experts last summer discovered a lithium-6 sales ad on Global Companies, a website that introduces businesses around the world.
The ad said, "We are General Precious Metal Complex (GPM) based in Beijing, China. We can offer 10 kilograms of the lithium metal..." It adds it can ship out the material from Dandong within a month.
The sale of lithium-6 is banned around the world.
The UNSC panel soon found out that GPM is an alias for Chongsong Yonhap, a North Korean arms exporter.
Chongsong Yonhap was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2010 over its sales of the CHT-02D torpedo, the model that sank the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March that year.
It has been under fresh sanctions imposed by the UNSC since 2012.
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