North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is living up to the “Rocket man” nickname given to him by President Trump. As Kim continues to build North Korea’s nuclear missile program, the U.S. and the international community have tried using sanctions to limit the regime’s reckless ambitions.
Now, it looks like the reclusive country has found a path to circumvent some of those sanctions: Through Germany.
According to a report from BBC News, the North Korean government has been secretly routing missile components though its embassy in Germany as part of a scheme to keep its arsenal growing.
“North Korea has been acquiring technology for its nuclear and weapons program through its Berlin embassy, Germany’s head of intelligence says,” the BBC explained.
“Hans-Georg Maassen told NDR TV that many of these activities had been thwarted, but not all were detected,” the report continued. “He did not say what type of technology was procured, but said it could be used for civilian and military purposes.”
Maaseen is in charge of Germany’s BfV, which can generally be thought of as their FBI. NDR TV is a German-language broadcaster.
The security expert said his agency was trying to stop the equipment smuggling, but was not entirely successful.
“We have noticed that so many procurement activities have taken place from the embassy,” Maassen said during an interview with the German public television station ADR, according to The Guardian.
“From our point of view, they were for the missile program, but also partly for the nuclear program,” he continued. “When we see such things, we stop them. But we cannot guarantee that we spot and block each attempt.”
Germany is generally considered a close U.S. ally and is a member of NATO. While the European country did not appear to be directly aiding North Korea, the fact that its government has continued to be lenient on the Kim regime has raised many eyebrows.
The Trump administration has asked Berlin to break diplomatic ties with North Korea, without much effect.
“We would continue to ask Germany or other countries around the world to recall those ambassadors,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in November, according to Deutsche Welle News. She asked nations including Germany to “shrink the footprint that North Korea has in any given country.”
Embassies and consulates have a lengthy history of being used for moving documents, personnel, and money due to their status as sovereign territory representing the home nation. Diplomatic immunity has long been used as part of espionage.
“The 1961 Vienna convention on diplomatic relations […] states that the official and private correspondence of a diplomat is ‘inviolable’, protected against interference and prying from the host country,” explained The Guardian.
In addition to running missile parts through embassies, North Korea has found other creative ways to circumvent international sanctions, often using sympathetic countries such as China.
“Though Beijing had promised to aid international pressure on their communist neighbor and abide by United Nations sanctions, it was recently caught apparently violating those sanctions by transferring oil ship-to-ship at sea,” CT reported last week.
Donald Trump may not be the most popular figure in the international community, but the fact remains that America’s allies at least listen when he speaks.
These reports of Kim Jong Un using Germany to further his nuclear program will no doubt bring strong criticism from the White House, and it’s only a matter of time before Trump’s team again points out that a North Korean embassy in Berlin might be doing Germany more harm than good.
The more dangerous Kim gets, the more unstable the world becomes… and that includes America’s friends in Europe.
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you think it might be time for Western governments to tell the North Korean diplomats to go home!
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