North Korea obtained ballistic missile equipment and technology using its embassy in Berlin, says the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen in an interview with public broadcaster NDR.
"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" -Hans-Georg Maassen
On Saturday, NDR released portions of the Maassen interview - with the full program airing Monday.
Maassen did not divulge the exact technology and equipment North Korea procured through the Berlin embassy, aside from that they were so-called "dual-use" goods that can be used for military oir civilian purposes - making it difficult in some cases to identify technology to be used in the ballistic missile program.
"We found out that there were procurement activities from there, from our point of view with regard to the rocket program, and partly also to the nuclear program," Massen told NDR. “If we find such things, we prevent it. But we cannot guarantee that this can be detected and prevented by us in all cases.”
Pyongyang also used a variety of other methods to procure the parts, which "were acquired via other markets, or that shadow firms had acquired them in Germany," before reaching North Korea, says Maassen.
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. -DW
According to NDR, a longtime UN investigator has raised complaints that the trade embargo against North Korea is a joke, and has "more loopholes than stuffed holes," (translated). The NDR report comes on the heels of a UN report that north Korea has been ignoring sanctions - having earned $200 million from banned exports in 2017.
Meanwhile - as we reported in January the Chinese military has been amassing assets near their shared border with North Korea around the Tumen River in Yanji city, Jilin province.
One source told the Daily NK, “there were so many soldiers in the car that there was a lot of traffic. I have not seen so many soldiers trucking to Yanji so far.”
Another source said, "Chinese troops are gathering around the Yalu and Tumen rivers. It is also heard that the tanks are moving to the North and the Chinese border."
And according to the Daily Star: Chinese military officials have recently conducted the so-called “war ceremony” – urging their troops to be ready to fight.
If the media report is accurate, it would suggest that China - fearing the worst - is preparing for war on the Korean Peninsula. Previously, internal documents leaked from China’s main state-owned telecommunications company shows three villages and cities in the northeastern border province of Jilin, have been designated for refugee camps-if war breaks out. China is afraid a swarm of refugees from North Korea could cross the Tumen River into China.
In early January, Kim Jong Un warned that North Korea would soon begin mass producing nuclear weapons - urging South Korea to join it for a much-needed dialogue ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.