Czech security service says they stopped three attempts, last year,
by North Korean agents, to illegally export industrial equipment needed to
produce nuclear weapons. The machine tools the North Koreans were attempting to
get would be used to make the precision parts required for a smaller nuclear
weapon to work reliably.
9,000 North Koreans have managed to get to South Korea since the war ended in
1953. That number is expected to reach 10,000 by early 2007. Many more, perhaps
several hundred thousand, have escaped into northern China in that time.
Getting from China to South Korea is difficult, but more North Koreans are
11, 2006: The Indian Coast Guard detained an North Korean merchant ship that
wandered in to Indian territorial waters after suffering engine problems. The
ship was empty, and the crew said they were taking it to Iran on a shake-down
cruise to, sort of, break it in. Indian officials were baffled by this, and let
the ship go.
10, 2006: North Korean and American officials held meeting over what North
Korea is most concerned about; money. The main reason North Korea fired off the
ballistic missiles and set off a nuclear bomb, is because the U.S. has cut off
North Korean access to the international banking system. This has made it more
difficult for the North Koreans to distribute their counterfeit hundred dollar
bills, and finance various other illegal activities. Since these operations are
a major source of income for the North Korean leadership, there is intense
interest in getting access restored. The U.S. will do that if North Korea stops
the criminal activity, and halts missile and nuclear weapons research. North
Korea wants some kind of compromise.
7, 2006: Iran, for the first time, openly admitted that it bought SCUD missiles
from North Korea during the 1980s, but no longer needs North Korean missile
technology. The latter claim seems unlikely, given the many similarities between
current Iranian and North Korean missiles.
3, 2006: Although Japan has cut its trade with North Korea, from over a billion
dollars a year, to less than $200 million, North Korea has been doing more
business with South Korea and China, increasing annual trade to $4 billion
(less than five percent what South Korea does). North Korea is letting more
foreign businesses in, but this is only because a senior North Korean official
will act as a sponsor, and protector, and run interference with a suffocating
bureaucracy. The North Korean officials make this worth their while by taking
most (over 50 percent) of the wages paid to the workers. This works for now,
but the workers are not happy, and their foreign employers are becoming aware
of this practice, as is the media back home.