The UN has admitted that one of the reasons, if not the reason, that its
aid programs have been allowed to remain
in North Korea has been weekly cash payments to the government of about a
million dollars. The cash was to go to support several UN development programs,
but the UN was not allowed to audit these programs. The cash was believed to
have been spent by the government on security equipment and luxuries for the
senior leadership. All this only came out when the new UN Secretary General
allowed an audit of the North Korean operation to go forward.
The North Koreans have apparently gathered enough
cash to think about upgrading their ancient air defense system. North Korean
agents have been making inquiries about such services. The North Koreans would
have to pay cash, as they have long since lost their ability to borrow (having
defaulted on billions of dollars worth of deals).
The North Koreans continue to run their disarmament
negotiations like an extortion racket. The North Koreans are particularly keen
on restoring access to the international banking system. The North Koreans need
this to run their criminal (drugs, counterfeiting) operations, which bring in
over half a billion dollars a year. This money is the cornerstone of the state
budget, and is essential to keeping the secret police equipped and happy.
Without free access to the international banking system, the North Koreans have
to move a lot of cash around, and that's expensive.
Meanwhile, the famine continues throughout most of North Korea. Over ten years of food
shortages has produced a generation of young men and women who are 4-5 inches
shorter than their contemporaries in the south. The sight is striking, and
anyone visiting the north can quickly tell who belongs to the ruling class
(secret police, senior political and military officials), as they, and their
kids, are as tall as South Koreans.