Kim Jong Un is one of the world’s most controversial leaders, not only because of his dictatorial leadership, but also because of his highly ambitious military projects that have rattled western nations and in particular, the United States. His nation has, in recent years, made major strides in developing some of the world’s deadliest nuclear weapons, and war rhetoric between the Asian country and America has gone up a notch.
That said, there have been numerous questions raised on how Pyongyang has been able to acquire the technologies and capabilities necessary to create long range missiles and related weapons, especially after it recently proclaimed itself as being a “complete” nuclear state following the launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting any area on the U.S. mainland. The move prompted more sanctions against the state.
That said, it seems North Korea has found ways to bypass them, according to recent reports. First, North Korea has been able to maintain funding for its ambitious nuclear programs by trading sanctioned products with other states via proxies. Just a few days ago, it was revealed that the country earned about $200 million last year from selling banned goods, which violated international sanctions.
— CNN International (@cnni) February 4, 2018
According to USA Today, the dictatorial regime was able to sell iron, coal, petroleum products, and steel to numerous nations. Chemical weapons were also apparently sold to the Syrian regime, which, in turn, used them in war, in contravention with international law. And now, according to the latest news, the country apparently used its embassy in Berlin, Germany, to acquire high-tech equipment necessary in advancing its nuclear and missile projects, as reported by Deutsche Welle.
BFV head Hans-Georg Maassen reportedly told NDR that the items obtained by Pyongyang this way were mainly dual-purpose products, which could be used for both military and non-military purposes. While he declined to go into specifics, he highlighted that such activities will now being monitored and prevented.
Shadow companies in the country are said to have been involved in the scandal. Pyongyang is also said to have obtained additional equipment from other countries under a similar framework. With such instances already noted by intelligence agencies in Europe, it is likely that the regime will find it harder to continue with the trend.