Nuclear terrorism

The most recent threat of Nuclear attack attempted on the United States has come from North Korea, as such the following essay will delve into North Korea’s investment in nuclear terrorism and the plan of action the United States has against such action.  There are several links that associate North Korea to different factions of terrorism.  The following paper will give detailed examples of North Korea’s interaction and support of each group.  The support of terrorism has many forms such as weapons or money and North Korea’s handing over of monetary funds and weapons will also be documented in this essay.  The resources necessary for terrorism to exist has a partner in government and North Korea is just such a partner.
The following paper will not only address the fact of terrorism affiliation between North Korea and reputed terrorist groups and countries but also that North Korea has their own terrorist group.  This fact can be found in North Korea’s treatment toward South Korea and reported assassination attempts of their presidents on several occasions.  The terrorist affiliation North Korea harbors is one that involves not only promoting terrorism through trade with notable terrorist groups but also their own participation in Afghanistan terrorist camps and the trading of weapons technologies with such groups (Graham 20-21).
North Korea is a country with a specific dichotomy between public relations.  These relations deal mainly with money.  The reason North Korea is reported to be trading with terrorists is that their funding aids in the economic growth of their country.  The support that North Korea gives to terrorist is rewarded with monetary funds from such countries as Japan, Iran, and Iraq.  This paper will organize specific examples of each country and it’s trading policy with North Korea (what items it trades for what price etc.).  The essay will also focus on how North Korea opens up trade routes covertly using bribes and coercion.

The year 2000 saw the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States government went through a series of terrorism talks and the future state of terrorism as well as cooperation of North Korea’s government in several documented terrorism actions.  Such actions include the 1970 hijacking of a Japanese plane bound for North Korea and the subsequent sheltering of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction members or hijackers, or the safe haven North Korea provided to the terrorist who were involved in the hijack.  Also, DPRK has been suspected of selling weapons to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as specified by the Philippine government.
The monetary transaction was made possible through Middle East connections (Terrorism Files, 2002).  North Korea has been on the US terrorism list sin 1988 and continues to remain on that list because of its uncooperative procedures for information on terrorist after the September 11 attacks, as Secretary of State John Bolton stated, “’North Korea has a dedicated, national-level effort to achieve a biological weapons capacity and has developed and produced, and may have weaponized, biological weapons agents.
Despite the fact that its citizens are starving,” said Mr. Bolton, “the leadership in Pyongyang has spent large sums of money to acquire the resources, including a biotechnology infrastructure, capable of producing infectious agents, toxins, and other crude biological weapons. It has a variety of means at its disposal for delivering these deadly weapons.’” (North Korea and Terrorism 2002).
Another terrorism threat that North Korea poses and has been linked with is nuclear terror.  In this respect according to Pakistan and US sources (as well as Libyan) this is the current threat of North Korea:  they have been supposedly training Arab terrorists for at minimum ten years at the Kim Jung-il Political and Military University.  North Korea is also linked with Osama bin Laden in arms dealing, as Triplett (2004) states in North Korea and Nuclear Terror, of the existing relationship between North Korea and bin Laden, “This was discovered in 2000 when bin Laden financed a shipment of North Korean conventional arms to a Philippine Islamic terrorist group”.
North Korean nuclear weapons were also being used as tests by Pakistan (in 1998).  Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory suspect that these tests were a conglomeration between Pakistan and North Korea in nuclear testing.  Such joint ventures are not new for North Korea and their connection with terrorism.  Nuclear weapons are just the forefront of terror that North Korea has presented to the world.
North Korea, since their cover-up in 1970 of the safe haven they provided to the airplane hijackers, have been affiliated with several terrorist groups as Triplett further states, “Recently a Japanese newspaper, citing military sources, reported Iranian military figures were seen at North Korea nuclear facilities. This leads allied intelligence to suspect the Iranians of trying to move their nuclear weapons program to North Korea, beyond the range of Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers”.
The Pakistan, and North Korean conglomeration of trading weapons is a definite terrorism group.  The weapon testing near the Afghan border in 1998 was reported to have been the testing of Korean made missiles.  Another link between Pakistan and North Korea can be found with Major General (retired) Saltan Habib, who was responsible for covert acquisitions of nuclear technologies while presiding as the defense attaché of Pakistan in Moscow, was posted as the ambassador to North Korea to ‘oversee the clandestine nuclear and missile cooperation between North Korea and Pakistan’ (Raman 2002).
As the ambassador, Habib organized the covert shipment of missiles from North Korea to Pakistan.  Not only did Habib coordinate this shipment but he also was reported to have exchanged technology from North Korea to Pakistan on weapons technologies especially those dealing with missiles and nuclear devices as Raman states, “…the training of Pakistani experts in the missile production and testing facilities of North Korea and the training of North Korean scientists in the nuclear establishments of Pakistan through Captain (retired) Shafquat Cheema, third secretary and acting head of mission in the Pakistani embassy in North Korea from 1992 to 1996”.
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is one in which North Korea has strong ties.  Prior to Habib’s position with North Korea it was filled by Major General Shujjat from the Baluch Regiment.  General Shujjat was not only working for the embitterment of North Korea but clandestine actions he performed were favoring ISI for five consecutive years as Raman states, “On Captain Cheema’s return to headquarters in 1996, the ISI discovered that in addition to acting as the liaison officer of the ISI with the nuclear and missile establishments in North Korea, he was also earning money from the Iranian and the Iraqi intelligence by helping them in their clandestine nuclear and missile technology and material procurement not only from North Korea, but also from Russia and the CARs”.
The limits of North Korea’s involvement in terror seem boundless.  Not only have they delivered ballistic missiles to Pakistan but also they are using very covert methods by which to trade.  The beginning of 2002 was witness to mass movements of nuclear weapons across the Karakoram Highway.  These weapons were being transported from China to Pakistan with the envoy containing spare parts and other assortments.  The transportation of this shipment however has ties with North Korea because China may have accepted this movement from Pakistan only in regards to North Korea’s wishes (Raman).
North Korea, Iran, and Iraq are infamously known as the Axis of Evil, because of their terrorist ties and promotion of illegal arms dealing.  North Korea has managed to become well versed in terrorism through biological, chemical, and nuclear means.  In 1988 North Korea or DPRK as well as Kim Jong-il were suspected (and this probability is almost certain) of committing to assassinate South Korean president Chun in Rangoon (or Yangun as it is known today).
The assassination was to take place by strategically placing bombs atop the Martyr’s Masoleum (in dedication to Aung San the founder of independent Burma).  Although president Chun was delayed in traffic and did not succumb to the bombings, “The huge blast ripped through the crowd below, killing 21 people and wounding 46. Among the dead were the Korean foreign minister, Lee Bum Suk, the economic planning minister and deputy prime minister, Suh Suk Joo, and the Minister for Commerce and Industry, Kim Dong Whie. The rest of those killed were presidential advisers, journalists, and security officials, most of them South Korean” (Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia).
In finding evidence to support North Korea has having terrorist ties, it is presumably difficult.  The suspects who were responsible for the Rangoon bombings committed suicide by detonating hand grenades.  Such suspects are common in assisination attempts and thus true evidence is difficult to come by in linking North Korea directly with terrorism in some cases.  However, the 1970 safehaven as well as arms dealing that Philippine officials attest to are some of the supporting materials that accumalte against North Korea (Graham 80-85).
In lieu of specific evidence to support terrorism affilitations from North Korea president Kim Jong-il admitted to the United States in 2000 that DPRK had willfully exported missiles abroad.  These missiles are traded to Syria and Iran in exchange for monetary compensation.  While Syria was reportedly a main buyer of missiles, Iran was said to be a primary buyer of not only ballistic missiles but technology as well (Wagner 2000).  The specific terrorism that exists in North Korea trading missiles to such countries exists in those countries’ intent for such exported ‘goods’.  In order for North Korea to stop association and trading of missiles, as Wagner states of the conference between the United States and North Korea held in July-August of 2000,
Einhorn characterized the talks as “very useful” and said that he hopes to meet again with the North Koreans in the near future. However, on July 12, Jang “clarified” that North Korea would only continue the talks if the United States compensated Pyongyang “for the political and economic losses to be incurred in case we suspend our missile program.”
During the meeting, the United States had once again rejected North Korea’s long-standing demand for $1 billion per year in return for the cessation of missile exports. “North Korea should not be receiving cash compensation for stopping what it shouldn’t be doing in the first place,” Einhorn said.
This compensation is coercion and is a type of terrorism in and of itself.  North Korea should not be given compensation pay for ending its affilitation with terrorism simply because their economy would suffer slightly from the lose of funds selling missiles etc. had given the DPRK.
North Korea has remained in close contact with different terrorist groups.  The Japanese Red Army who were given safehaven in 1970 after the plane hijacking are coherts of Middle Eastern terrorists and in this connection lies the bridge by which North Korea exports weapons (Fulford 2001).  As said prior Pakistan has a standing trade relationship with North Korea as missile buyers.
The funding for such North Korean weapons development as Fulford states, “However, cutting off one of ruler Kim Jong Il’s main sources of finance–illegal activities in Japan–might prove easier. North Korea’s government has been manufacturing large quantities of heroin, amphetamines, weapons and counterfeit U.S. dollars to finance its weapons development programs. It sells them either through criminal gangs in Japan or via Russia and China to the U.S. and Europe, the Korea experts say.” Pakistan is also a main supporter of the Afghanistan Taliban regime and terror weapons that are used by Taliban are subsequently provided by North Korea (Fulford).
Other avenues by which North Korea finds funding for weapons is through Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.  The Party solicits succor toward North Korea in exchange for bribes as Fulford further states, “…when Japan gave 500,000 tons of rice aid to North Korea last year, politicians received kickbacks from North Korea, Lee says. “I was with a North Korean official as he phoned a Japanese member of parliament and told him a shipment of free fish had been sent to a company he owns,” he says.”
This bribe system works by committing North Korean businessmen, who reside in Japan, to a loan.  This loan, or lend, is given by a bank and is paid back directly to North Korea and Japan.  Thus, the money cannot easily be traced.  Public money is being used to generate a working arms dealing relationship between North Korea and Japan.
Public money is not the only money being used in corrupt manners:  The Japanese government aided North Korea’s atomic weapon development through its Fuji bank.  Fuji bank is one of the largest banks in the world and its involvement in the deal between North Korea and Japan was a catalyst in North Korean weapons building and trading.  Essentially Fuji paid approximately $350 million to a myriad of North Korean businesses and organizations who were prospering in Japan.  This money was given in exchange for debt collection services (Graham 61-63).
The funding for weapons development in North Korea as it is funded by Japan and public money is the key component of rising terrorism at a global scale.  Due to North Korea’s association with several aforementioned terrorists groups, global terror does exist.  North Korea’s trade of missiles to different terrorist organizations promotes multilateral trade in a negative fashion because what North Korea is truly promoting is terrorism through trade.
There also exist unofficial reports of North Korea terrorist involvement.  It has been established that North Korea has dealt ballistic missiles to countries: It gained the raw materials for the construction of these missiles from such countries as China.  These missiles are capable of delivering mass destruction in the form of biological as well as chemical warfare.  In late 2001 P’yongyang continued a type of global scavenger hunt for technologies dealing with the making of nuclear weapons.
The procurement of the necessary plutonium for at least one nuclear weapon has set the world on edge.  As the Unclassified Congress Report (2001) states, “Spent fuel rods canned in accordance with the 1994 Agreed Framework contain enough plutonium for several more weapons.”  Along this train of potential arms dealings P’yongyang laid the path to trade with Russia by signing the Defense Industry Cooperation Agreement.
Among the trading partners that North Korea has established ties with include Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Angola, Burma, Cuba, Libya, and Syria.  Through trade with these countries North Korea is able to consistently manage its immense military operation (14% of its economic gross goes to the military despite calling in international aid to its starving people).  The trading that continues between the aforementioned countries and North Korea involves ‘arms, chemical and biological weapons materials, and even ballistic missile technology–in clear violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime. Libya, for example, recently bought 50 Rodong-1 missiles from North Korea with a range of 1,000 kilometers’ (Hwang, 2001).
Among the trading countries that North Korea has ties and the materials thar are reportedly being traded, North Korea has also been invovled with overtly selling weapons to various terrorist groups such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the United Wa State Army.  The United Wa State Army is a drug affiliated Burma terrorist group residing in the golden triangle.  The golden triangle is the area between Thailand, Laos, and Burma.
Not only is North Korea coordinating trading efforts with these terrorist groups but North Korea also has been training in Afghanistan terrorist camps (Hwang).  The Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John E. McLaughlin stated of North Korean involvement of terrorism, “North Korea’s challenge to regional and global security is magnified by two factors…first, the North’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and two, its readiness–and eagerness–to become missile salesman to the world” (Hwang).
Not only is North Korea associated and in league with terrorist groups by harboring hijackers and participating in terrorist camps but North Korea is a terrorist.  In 1987 North Korean agents bombed a South Korean airplane.  North Korea has continuously be involved with terrorist attacks on South Korea a reported 300 instances.  North Korea has participated in covert assassination attempts of South Korean presidents and has traversed passed South Korean borders 15 separate times (Hwang).
Not simply has North Korea been fully participatory in these incidences but as Hwang further states, “In one of the most blatant, 26 North Korean commandos in a submarine landed off the South Korean coast in September 1996; they, along with 17 South Koreans, were killed in the ensuing manhunt. Their mission is believed to have been to assassinate South Korean dignitaries”.  Therefore, North Korea guilty of fully participating in aiding terrorists through weapons and technologies and they are also delving into the leagues of terrorism by their chronic attack on South Korea (Graham 43-44).
Along the lines of defining North Korea as having terrorist groups within its borders who are North Korean Hwang states that North Korea has kidnapped an unprecedented 3,600 Korean citizens since the year 1953.  In this fact there exists relevant material to consider North Korea as having terrorist intentions and actions.  Not only has North Korea abducted Koreans but reportedly also foreigners, of which ten Japanese foreigners are the most noted.
In conclusion, North Korea is not only a country who supports terrorism through trade of weapons and technology but it is also a country which participates in terrorism through assassinations, and kidnappings.  North Korea then exists as a country spurned by monetary gain and by lines of distinction between trading partners and the uses those countries may have for nuclear weapons.
Although the above pages attest to the development of North Korea and its invovlement with terrorism it must also be noted that the United States with the advocacy of the United Nations, has established an administration of foreign policy which will attribute to the goals of nuclear disarmament.
Work Cited
Allison, Graham.  (2005).  Nuclear Terrorism, The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.  Owl
Books, New York.
Editorial.  North Korea and Terrorism.  2002.  (Online).  Available:  
Fulford, Benjamin.  North Korea, Another Outcropping of Terrorism.  Forbes.  September 2001.
(Online).  Available:  
Hwang, Balbina.  North Korea Deserves to Remain on US List of Sponsors of Terrorism.
Asia and the Pacific.  November 2001.  (Online).  Available:  
Raman, B.  Pakistan and the North Korea Connection.  Asia Times, October 2002.  (Online).
Terrorism Files.  State-Sponsored Terrorism North Korea.  2002.  (Online).  Available:  
Triplett, William C.  North Korea and Nuclear Terror.  The Washington Times.  2004.(Online).            Available:
Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia.  Rangoon Bombing.  (Online).  Available:       
Unclassified Congress Report.  2001.  (Online).  Available:  
Wagner, Alexander.  US-North Korea Terrorism Talks Resume; North Korea Admits to
Exporting Rocket Technology.  Arms Control Association, September 2000.
(Online).  Available:

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