Thursday, November 19, 2009

North Korea nukes funded by arms trade, says UN panel

I don't know if this means you can vacation in Kŭmgangsan or Kaesŏng with a free conscience, but a UN report on sanctions against Pyongyang specifically said North Korea "is running a global arms smuggling enterprise to finance its nuclear weapons program." From Bloomberg:
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has established a highly sophisticated international network for the acquisition, marketing and sale of arms and military equipment,” said the report by a panel established in June to assess the effectiveness of the UN punishments.

The report said arms sales banned by the UN “have increasingly become one of the country’s principal sources for obtaining foreign exchange.”

North Korea has used “reputable shipping entities, misdescription of goods and multiple transfers” to hide arms smuggling, according to the report, which has been circulated within the Security Council and was obtained by Bloomberg News. It has not yet been publicly released. The council is set to discuss the findings today in New York.
If you read One Free Korea or the like, this is nothing new, but it's good if the UN outlines and endorses such a view. And a case could be made that inter-Korean industrial zones and tourism projects are still a source of foreign exchange, so you're really not off the hook.

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