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N. Korean Scud Missiles Delivered to Yemen - 2002-12-14

A controversial shipment of Scud missiles from North Korea was delivered to Yemen Saturday. Discovery of the shipment on the high seas touched off international tensions among Yemen, North Korea and the United States. The ship, the So San, came from North Korea and arrived in Yemen Friday to deliver its cargo of 15 Scud missiles, warheads and fuel. Yemeni officials said the ship docked in the Red Sea port of al Hudaydah where its cargo was to be unloaded Saturday.

One western news agency reported that the cargo will be taken to a Yemeni missile base near the capital Sana'a and be used for defensive purposes.

The shipment touched off international controversy after the Spanish and U.S. Navy detained the ship last week in the Arabian Sea. Its explosive contents were hidden under cement bags. Yemeni officials originally denied connection to the cargo but later said it was within the country's rights to receive the shipment of arms and demanded its release.

The ship was allowed to sail after Washington was assured by Yemen that the Scuds would not be shipped anywhere else in the region.

Yemeni officials said they ordered the goods about three years ago at a time of conflict with neighboring countries. Yemen has promised not to purchase more.

North Korea accused Washington of piracy over the detained shipment. Washington has accused North Korea of spreading the use of nuclear capable weapons.