U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the revelation that a ship from Cuba headed to North Korea contained sophisticated missile equipment. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The fact that missile equipment was caught being shipped from Cuba to North Korea reaffirms the dangerous threats faced by our nation due to the nefarious activities by these two rogue regimes. This revelation confirms once again that Pyongyang must be re-designated on the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) list as it continues to cooperate with the Cuban regime, a designated SST country, in order to undermine U.S. interests.
This is a serious and alarming incident that reminds us that the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic programs, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit. It also illustrates that the Castro tyranny continues to aid and abet America's enemies and continues to pose a national security threat to the United States as long as the Castro apparatchik holds control over the island.
I commend President Martinelli and his law enforcement officials in Panama for doing their due diligence and inspecting this ship carefully. This incident should serve as a wakeup call to the Administration, which over the past few months has been leading an apparent effort to normalize relations with Cuba, that it cannot continue to engage the Castro regime. I call on the Department of State to immediately cease its migration talks this week with the Cuban regime until it provides clear and coherent answers regarding this incident."
NOTE: On June 7, 2013, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen led a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry with a group of Congressional Members urging the Administrations to re-designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST). Also, on February 28, 2013, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen introduced HR 893 -- the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Accountability Act that increases sanctions on any person or entity transferring goods, services, or technology for the chemical, biological, or advanced conventional weapons program of Iran, North Korea, and Syria and prohibits assistance to any foreign government that has provided assistance to Iran, North Korea or Syria.