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German Spy Chief: N. Korea Has Gotten Nuclear Equipment Through Its Berlin Embassy

  • Ken Schwartz

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, provides guidance on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Sept. 3, 2017.

North Korea has been getting equipment and technology for its nuclear weapons program through its embassy in Berlin, Germany's intelligence chief says.

"When we detect something of this sort, we prevent it," BfV head Han-Georg Maassen told German public television NDR Monday. "But we can't guarantee that we will be able to detect and thwart all cases."

Maassen says German authorities suspect underground markets and shadow buyers got their hands on the parts and the North Koreans procured them in Germany.

He did not say exactly what equipment the North Koreans bought, but said it is likely duel-use technology, meaning it has civilian and military purposes.

The German TV report says the North carried out its activities in Germany in 2016 and 2017, but that a North Korean diplomat tried to buy a monitor used in chemical weapons production as early as 2014.

A North Korean embassy spokesman denies the report, telling CNN it is "simply not true."

The United Nations has imposed a series of increasingly stronger sanctions on North Korea because of its refusal to stop developing nuclear weapons and testing ballistic missiles that could carry such bombs.

But a recent U.N. report says the North earned nearly $200 million last year ignoring sanctions and exporting such goods as coal, iron, and steel.

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