Fighter jet engines found in N Korean ship

2013-08-01 03:11:48 GMT2013-08-01 11:11:48(Beijing Time)  China Daily

Panamanian investigators unloading the cargo of a seized Pyongyang ship carrying arms from Cuba under sacks of brown sugar on Tuesday found 12 engines for MiG-21 fighter jets and five military vehicles that officials said resembled missile control centers.

Investigators had found two MiG-21 fighter jets and two missile radar systems earlier this month on board the Chong Chon Gang, which was bound for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea when it was stopped by officials.

Panamanian Security Minister Jose Mulino said the cargo appeared to fall within what Cuba had said was a range of "obsolete" arms being sent to Pyongyang for repair.

Panama has asked the United Nations to delay the arrival of investigators by a week until Aug 12 because the process of unloading cargo found under 100,000 tons of sugar has taken longer than expected.

About 25 percent of the sugar has been removed so far, Mulino said.

Investigators have gone through most of two storage houses in the 155-meter vessel, Mulino said, but three more warehouses remain.

The process has involved about 500 police since June 15 when Panamanian law enforcement discovered the military equipment.

They initially detained the Chong Chon Gang after receiving a tip it was carrying drugs, Panamanian law enforcement have said. Cuban officials told Panama the cargo was a donation of sugar for the DPRK people.

Officials have found most of the weapons Havana said were in the containers, including the two fighter jets, originally produced by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s, and two missile radar systems.

No missiles have been found, and though officials originally feared one container held explosive material, none have been discovered.

(Agencies)

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