How poaching, smuggling in Africa fuel North Korea's nuclear arrogance
Thursday 20th April 2017 10:14:59 in English News by Xarunta Dhexe
How poaching, smuggling in Africa fuel North Korea's nuclear arrogance North Korea’s haughtiness may be 10,000km away from Nairobi, but Africa’s rich resources may be aiding its latest nuclear weapons scorpion show.
After its failed nuclear launch on Sunday, the country’s national propaganda newspaper Rodong Sinmun boasted of readiness to crash the US.
"The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is sure of its final victory in its showdown with the US. The Korean War in the 20th century brought about the beginning of a downhill turn for the US but the one in the 21st century will end in the final doom of the US,” the paper wrote, referring to the war in the 1950s in which it invaded South Korea
"The foolhardy manoeuvers of the puppet forces are reminiscent of a puppy knowing no fear of the tiger,” it said.
Yet, North Korea’s economy is 600 times smaller than that of the US and its diplomats around the world have been seen shopping for second-hand clothes, failing to pay rent or dealing in contraband.
With little information about its economy, the CIA World Fact Book says the country is one of the least open economies in the world with "chronic economic problems.”
So where does this hermit kingdom, mostly isolated from the world, get the money to build these humongous nuclear warheads? Countries like Kenya are still struggling to tap nuclear energy for power generation alone.
The answer may lie in Africa. A recent report by the South African Institute of Security Studies (ISS) says despite international isolation coupled with UN sanctions, North Korea has continued to enjoy covert trade links with African countries.
This often involves smuggled goods, poaching and illegal weapon deals, which in turn enriches the government in Pyongyang.
"Africa’s increasing trade activities with the DPRK after 2006 may be a sign that the Pyongyang regime is trying to diversify its economic partnerships to reduce its dependency on China,” says the report on cooperation between African states and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
"Overall, of cases involving diplomats, North Korean embassy officials have been implicated in 16 of 29 cases of rhino horn and ivory trade. In these illicit activities, ‘driven by economic necessity and justified with ideological veneer’, North Korea’s embassies appear to play a key role,” reveals the report.
North Korean diplomats smuggle banned wildlife products and launder money using diplomatic bags which are normally exempted from security searches.
A report by the Global Initiatives, a Swiss anti-organised crime watchdog last year, said North Korean diplomats in Africa were arrested ferrying rhino horn and huge sums of cash.
The report suggested that illicit activities sustain diplomats abroad, but Pyongyang still taxes certain amounts, often half of it.
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