North Korea is using its Berlin embassy to acquire nuclear tech, intel chief says

Posted at 3:50 PM, Feb 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-04 16:31:04-05

North Korea has been acquiring technology for its nuclear weapons program through its Berlin embassy, according to Germany’s intelligence chief.

“We determined that from there (the North Korean embassy in Berlin) weapons procurement took place, in our view, with an eye toward the missile program and in part also the nuclear program,” the head of Germany’s Security Agency (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, told CNN affiliate ARD.

“If we find such things, we stop it, but we cannot guarantee that this can be prevented in all cases,” he said in a press release from the public broadcaster ahead of a documentary about North Korea’s missile program to be aired Monday.

Maassen said authorities believe parts for North Korea’s weapons program were “acquired through shadow buyers or shadow markets abroad, which they then bought in Germany,”

Many of the purchases were so-called dual-use goods that could be used for both civil and military purposes, he said.

German authorities received evidence of product purchases destined for North Korea’s missile program in 2016 and 2017, according to the documentary.

The report also alleges a North Korean diplomat tried in 2014 to acquire a monitor which measures gas emissions during the production of chemical weapons.

CNN attempted to contact North Korean authorities but they were not available for comment at time of publishing.

Maassen’s comments come as the United Nations revealed North Korea earned almost $200 million from exporting banned commodities last year, in violation of international sanctions.

The rogue regime’s repeated weapons tests saw the UN Security Council pass increasingly strict resolutions against Pyongyang in 2017. The measures, passed after intense lobbying by Washington, targeted energy, money transfers and shipping.

However, UN Investigators in a recent report found that North Korea “is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries and the international banking system.”