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This chapter analyzes Pyongyang's security relationship with Syria, Iran and the terrorist organizations in the Middle East. North Korea has been a military exporter since the 1980s, particularly to Third World states, with 90 percent of its arms sales going to the Middle East and North Africa. Relations between Pyongyang and Damascus began in 1966, when the two states established diplomatic relations. Both were allies of the Soviet Union and belonged to the same Cold War camp. The North Korean missile trade and technological cooperation continued during the Syrian civil war. Damascus needed more military equipment, including missiles to be used against the rebels, and Pyongyang was willing to sell. The Syrian government, unlike the Iranian government, did not make the right strategic assessments when it decided to collaborate on a nuclear project with North Korea. The Iran-Iraq War was an important stage in the development of Tehran's relations with Pyongyang.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Asia in World Politics
EditorsTeh-Kuang Chang, Angelin Chang
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781315682808
StatePublished - 2017


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