Intelligence: April 24, 2003


An Australian paper reported that eleven nations have allowed for their consulates to be used to hustle 20 North Korea military and scientific officials out of North Korea, into China and then to the United States or South Korea. Called Operation Weasel, it's main intent was to get past Chinese reluctance to encourage North Koreans to illegally cross the border into China. Some 300,000 North Koreans have already done that, and China considers these refugees a potential economic or military problem. Operation Weasel obtained the cooperation of the tiny, bankrupt, Pacific nation of Nauru, which agreed to allow New Zealand and American officials to set up a Nauru embassy in China and use this embassy, and diplomatic immunity of Nauru diplomats, to get the North Korean defectors out of China. The defectors have provided many more details of North Koreans nuclear and chemical weapons programs. An Australian newspaper figured out the scheme and published a story about it. But the nations involved have all denied the story, or most of it, anyway.


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