In 2007 the Mossad obtained photographs of a Syrian nuclear reactor—later destroyed by the IDF—which analysts were able to identify in part because it was a near-perfect replica of a facility in Yongbyon, North Korea, that was used for manufacturing nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has likewise played an important role in Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. As Jay Solomon explains, the Stalinist country has a long history of helping those who would attack Israel, especially where technological sophistication is involved:
For North Korea, confronting Israel emerged in the 1960s as a central plank in its campaign to fight Western “imperialism” and U.S.-backed governments. North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, aggressively supported the Palestinian cause, funding and training Arab militants who targeted Israel in terrorist attacks in the 1970s. . . . In 1972 North Korea trained and financed operatives from the Japanese Red Army, a radical Marxist organization, who attacked Israel’s Lod Airport, killing 26 people and injuring 80 more.
In June 1973, [Anwar] Sadat formally invited North Korean military advisers to Egypt. According to Chinese press reports, Pyongyang sent nearly 1,500 personnel to help the Egyptians run their Soviet-made surface-to-air missile systems as war with Israel appeared imminent. [During the Yom Kippur War], Israeli jets shot down two North Korean-piloted MiG-21s in dogfights over the Sinai. North Korean pilots also flew with the Syrian air force.
In Syria, North Korea [later] rushed to help President Bashar al-Assad win the brutal civil war waged since 2011, [including through] the production of the chemical weapons Assad has used to gas thousands of Syrians.
No country in the Middle East, [however], has had deeper cooperation with Pyongyang in missile development than Iran. . . . Tehran’s nuclear program is by far the most advanced in the region, besides Israel’s, and the best positioned to benefit from North Korea’s technological advances. . . . One South Korean official said [his country’s intelligence services have] documented hundreds of North Koreans traveling to Tehran using a range of real and forged passports. . . . North Korea’s and Iran’s missile programs complement each other in a number of important ways. . . . Pyongyang has a better mastery of the electronics used in the navigation systems of the projectiles, while Tehran is seen as having a better grasp of the solid-fuel propellants used to ignite them.