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Technology Swiss-made component found in North Korean missile

North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launching station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, on December 12, 2012

North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launching station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, on December 12, 2012

(Keystone)

A Swiss-made component was used in a long-range ballistic missile tested by North Korea in 2012, the Sonntagsblick newspaper reports, citing United Nations Security Council investigations. 

After wreckage of the North Korean Unha-3 rocket tested in 2012 was recovered in the Yellow Sea by South Korea’s navy, UN specialists discovered components originating from 13 countries, including the United States and South Korea, Sonntagsblick reported on Sundayexternal link

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) confirmed to Sonntagsblick that the long-range rocket also used a direct current converter made by a Swiss firm. The part is used to generate the correct voltage in a battery. It is unclear how the part was integrated into the rocket, the newspaper reported. 

"Switzerland has been unable to trace the supply chain of the converter, as it is produced in large numbers and sold on the Internet,” a UN report stated. 

SECO told the paper that the Swiss company in question had been extremely cooperative and carried out extensive research with its distributors. 

“Since there was no evidence of any misconduct on the part of the Swiss company, no criminal investigation was opened," SECO spokesman Fabian Maienfisch declared. 

In October 2013 and March 2014, two drones crashed over South Korea, most likely built by North Korea, according to the UN. In its article Sonntagsblick said the drones also contained a Swiss-made component – a GPS positioning receiver. Switzerland was contacted by the UN to clarify the matter, it said. The Swiss manufacturer in question told SECO that their devices had been sold to a Taiwanese intermediary and were probably exported to North Korea afterwards.

SDA-ATS/sb

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