North Korea has reportedly been acquiring parts for its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs via its embassy in Berlin, according to the German spy chief.
Head of German intelligence Hans-Georg Maassen told NDR TV recently that North Korean operatives have moved dual-use weapons components through the embassy. While some attempts to obtain parts for its illegal weapons programs have been foiled by authorities, other activities have likely gone undetected, he revealed.
“We have noticed that so many procurement activities have taken place from the embassy,” he told reporters. “From our point of view, they were for the missile program but also partly for the nuclear program.”
“When we see such things, we stop them. But we cannot guarantee that we spot and block each attempt,” Maassen added.
A separate investigation reportedly revealed that German intelligence first detected signs that North Korea was attempting to move essential technology and equipment through the local diplomatic office two years ago.
The Trump administration called on Germany to sever all ties with North Korea last year. “We would continue to ask Germany or other countries around the world to recall those ambassadors,” Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert told DW, adding that the U.S. hopes to see the world “shrink the footprint that North Korea has in any given country.”
Germany rejected the request.
North Korea is facing tough international sanctions, punitive measures imposed on the rogue regime for last year’s tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile and a suspected hydrogen bomb. As the pressure mounts, North Korea is exploring new channels to skirt sanctions and obtain funds and critical parts for its weapons programs.
A new United Nations report claims that North Korea managed to generate $200 million in 2017 through illegal exports, including weapons exports to Syria and Myanmar. The new report also called out China and Russia for failing to do their part to fully and properly implement sanctions against North Korea.
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