Feb 4, 2018

Berlin embassy played role in North Korea's nuclear buildup

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at Pyongyang Trolley Bus Factory. Photo: STR / AFP via Getty Images

North Korea has been acquiring technology for nuclear and weapons programs through its Berlin embassy, Germany's head of intelligence says, reports AFP.

Why it matters: North Korea isn't slowing down efforts to build up its nuclear capabilities despite heavy UN-imposed sanctions and international warnings.

Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), or Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, made the comments in an interview with German public television channel ARD, to be aired Monday.

“We have noticed that so many procurement activities have taken place from the embassy ... When we see such things, we stop them. But we cannot guarantee that we spot and block each attempt."

What's next, per Ryan Hass, David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings, for Axios Expert Voices: "As sanctions shrink the sources of national revenue, Kim will have to choose between funding his nuclear and missile programs, paying his military and security services, or buying off the country's elite."

"Kim’s survival instincts will likely compel him to prioritize the loyalty of North Korea’s elite and its security services, which in turn will slow nuclear and missile advances and create space for diplomacy."

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