Will North Korea sell its nuclear technology? – Salon
Earlier this month CIA Director Mike Pompeo suggested “the North Koreans have a long history of being proliferators and sharing their knowledge, their technology, their capacities around the world.”
My research has shown that North Korea is more than willing to breach sanctions to earn cash.
A checkered history
Over the years North Korea has earned millions of dollars from the export of arms and missiles, and its involvement in other illicit activities such as smuggling drugs, endangered wildlife products and counterfeit goods.
Still, there are only a handful of cases that suggest these illicit networks have been turned to export nuclear technology or materials to other states.
North Korean technicians allegedly assisted the Pakistanis in production of Krytrons, likely sometime in the 1990s. Krytrons are devices used to trigger the detonation of a nuclear device.
Later in the 1990s, North Korea allegedly transferred cylinders of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to Pakistan, where notorious proliferator A.Q. Khan shipped them onward to Libya. UF6 is a gaseous uranium compound that’s needed to create the “highly enriched uranium” used in weapons.
The most significant case was revealed in 2007 when Israeli Air Force jets bombed a facility in Syria. The U.S. government alleges this was an “undeclared nuclear reactor,” capable of producing plutonium, that had been under construction with North Korean assistance since the late 1990s. A U.S. intelligence briefing shortly after the strike highlighted the close resemblance between the Syrian reactor and the North Korean Yongbyon reactor. It also noted evidence of unspecified “cargo” being transported from North Korea to the site in 2006.
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