North Korea used Berlin embassy to acquire nuclear tech: German spy chief

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North Korea procured equipment and technology for its ballistics missiles program using its embassy in Berlin, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has said.

BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Sohn)

‘We can’t guarantee that we will be able to detect and thwart all cases’: BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen

“We determined that procurement activities were taking place there, from our perspective with an eye on the missile program, as well as the nuclear program to some extent,” BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen told public broadcaster NDR in an interview.

Read more: Which countries have diplomatic relations with North Korea?

NDR released portions of its interview with Maassen on Saturday, but the full program will be aired on Monday.

Although he did not say exactly what kind of technology and equipment was procured, Maassen said they were so-called dual-use goods that can be used for civilian as well as military purposes.

“When we detect something of this sort, we prevent it,” he said. “But we can’t guarantee that we will be able to detect and thwart all cases.”

Read more: US calls on Germany to cut diplomatic ties with North Korea

Maassen also noted that the parts for Pyongyang’s programs “were acquired via other markets or shadow firms had acquired them in Germany.”

The BfV obtained information on North Korea’s procurements in 2016 and 2017, according to an investigation by NDR. These items were allegedly used for the country’s missile program.

In 2014, a North Korean diplomat reportedly tried to obtain a “multi-gas monitor” that is used in the development of chemical weapons.

Read more: UN chief calls for ‘peaceful denuclearization’ of Korean peninsula

North Korea sanctions report

The allegations from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency follow on the heels of a United Nations report that said Pyongyang has been flouting sanctions.

The UN report found that Pyongyang had continued to export coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities — earning $200 million (€160 million) in revenue last year.

Read more: Kim Jong Un — North Korea has completed nuclear program, US will never attack

Pyongyang sold a ballistic missile system to Myanmar and may be helping Syria with a chemical weapons program, according to the report.

Over the past year, the UN has repeatedly tightened sanctions on the reclusive state in response to leader Kim Jong Un’s continued ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

rs/cmk (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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