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"West mounts 'secret war' to keep nuclear North Korea in check

Published:

Last Edited: July 10, 2006, 11:34 am

No wonder President Bush seemed nonchalant about the little gargoyle shooting off missiles when the press was grilling him. 

He'd already pulled out a truckload of whoop@$$ ..... and began using it.  Yes, that's the USA way of getting things done!!  US Flag

Addendum:  For anyone sympathetic with Kim Jong II, have read articles about N Koreans being so starved that children have disappeared and human flesh has been sold in markets.  Has been declared illegal to do so but in pure desperation people resort to all kinds of measures to maintain their lives and lives of their families.


"West mounts 'secret war' to keep nuclear North Korea in check
Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent

Source Timesonline.co.uk


"A PROGRAMME of covert action against nuclear and missile traffic to North Korea and Iran is to be intensified after last week's missile tests by the North Korean regime.
Intelligence agencies, navies and air forces from at least 13 nations are quietly co-operating in a "secret war" against Pyongyang and Tehran.

It has so far involved interceptions of North Korean ships at sea, US agents prowling the waterfronts in Taiwan, multinational naval and air surveillance missions out of Singapore, investigators poring over the books of dubious banks in the former Portuguese colony of Macau and a fleet of planes and ships eavesdropping on the "hermit kingdom" in the waters north of Japan.

Few details filter out from western officials about the programme, which has operated since 2003, or about the American financial sanctions that accompany it.

But together they have tightened a noose around Kim Jong-il's bankrupt, hungry nation.

"Diplomacy alone has not worked, military action is not on the table and so you'll see a persistent increase in this kind of pressure," said a senior western official.

In a telling example of the programme's success, two Bush administration officials indicated last year that it had blocked North Korea from obtaining equipment used to make missile propellant.

The Americans also persuaded China to stop the sale of chemicals for North Korea's nuclear weapons scientists. And a shipload of "precursor chemicals" for weapons was seized in Taiwan before it could reach a North Korean port.

According to John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations and the man who originally devised the programme, it has made a serious dent in North Korea's revenues from ballistic missile sales.

But the success of Bolton's brainchild, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), whose stated aim is to stop the traffic in weapons of mass destruction, might also push North Korea into extreme reactions.

Britain is a core member of the initiative, which was announced by President George W Bush in Krakow, Poland, on May 31, 2003. British officials have since joined meetings of "operational experts" in Australia, Europe and the US, while the Royal Navy has contributed ships to PSI exercises. The participants include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, Spain and Singapore, among others.

There has been almost no public debate in the countries committed to military involvement. A report for the US Congress said it had "no international secretariat, no offices in federal agencies established to support it, no database or reports of successes and failures and no established funding".

To Bolton and senior British officials, those vague qualities make it politically attractive.

In the past 10 months, since the collapse of six-nation talks in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear weapons, the US and its allies have also tightened the screws on Kim's clandestine fundraising, which generated some $500m a year for the regime.

Robert Joseph, the US undersecretary for arms control, has disclosed that 11 North Korean "entities" - trading companies or banks - plus six from Iran and one from Syria were singled out for action under an executive order numbered 13382 and signed by Bush.

For the first time, the US Secret Service and the FBI released details of North Korean involvement in forging $100 notes and in selling counterfeit Viagra, cigarettes and amphetamines in collaboration with Chinese gangsters.

The investigators homed in on a North Korean trading company and two banks in Macau. The firm, which had offices next to a casino and a "sauna", was run by North Koreans with diplomatic passports, who promptly vanished.

The two banks, Seng Heng bank and Banco Delta Asia, denied any wrongdoing. But the Macau authorities stepped in after a run on Banco Delta Asia and froze some $20m in North Korean accounts."............


Continued page 2 and 3

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2261782,00.html

Entry #436

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