More than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades discovered on board the freighter named the Jie Shun which the hermit kingdom had decorated with deceptive Cambodian colours.
Despot leader Kim Jong-un’s cargo was stopped in its tracks when the US warned Cairo about the incoming ship.
An investigation launched by the United Nations found that Pyongyang had made nice with Egyptian business executives who had ordered millions of dollars worth of North Korean weaponry.
The monumental weapons supply was disguised under bins of iron ore that were used as a front for the hugely destructive delivery.
Washington has accused Egypt of attempting to conceal the transaction, claiming there was a lack of action taken until US intelligence alerted Egyptian authorities to the then unidentified vessel.
Despite the country’s attempts to conceal the transaction, a spokesman for the Egyptian Embassy in Washington highlighted Cairo’s “transparency” in detailing the deal and ultimately ridding of the artillery.
The spokesman said: “Egypt will continue to abide by all Security Council resolutions and will always be in conformity with these resolutions as they restrain military purchases from North Korea.”
David Thompson, a senior analyst and investigator for the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies, in Washington, revealed North Korea has been using similar undercover weapon shipments to finance Kim Jong-un’s nuclear missile ambitions.
He said: “These cover materials not only act to obfuscate shipments, but really highlights the way that licit North Korean businesses are being used to facilitate North Korean illicit activity.”
The discovery of the Jie Shun freighter in August led to the US halting and delaying £224million ($300million) in military aid to Egypt.
It is unknown whether North Korea received the approximate £17.2million ($23million) that was agreed for the rocket shipment.
The fiasco underlines the desperation of the hermit kingdom to finance further military development at a time the country is being repeatedly hit with new UN sanctions over its recent missile and nuclear bomb tests.
With North Korea feeling the world’s economic squeeze, the country has also turned to stealing bitcoins in a bid to finance further weapon tests.
Cybersecurity firm FireEye said it had traced three attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in Seoul back to the rogue state this year.
North Korea is no stranger to dastardly dealings with other nations including Iran, Burma and Cuba as well as at least two terrorist groups.
The isolationist nation has persisted in carving out a niche for selling weapons at ridiculously low prices.
It comes amid fears the US and North Korea are on the brink of triggering World War 3 as President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un increase their threats of military action.
North Korea accused the US of declaring war after a recent tweet from the US President targeted the hermit state.
President Trump wrote: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
In response, North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho claimed the country will take aim at any further bombers, even if they occupy international airspace.
Since the feud, the US has denied declaring war on North Korea with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders claiming accusations made were “absurd”.