German intel chief: North Korea acquiring weapons tech through Berlin embassy

Outside the compound of the North Korean Embassy in Berlin late last year

The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency says North Korea has used its embassy in Berlin to acquire equipment apparently intended for its missile or nuclear programs.

During an interview, the chief stated "we have noticed that so many procurement activities have taken place from the embassy".

Numerous purchases were so-called dual-use goods that could be used for both civil and military purposes, he said. The nation also conducted its sixth nuclear weapon test past year, claiming that the weapon they detonated was a hydrogen bomb.

"When we see such things, we stop them", said Maassen.

Massen said that German authorities suspect portions of Pyongyang's weapons program were "acquired through shadow buyers or shadow markets overseas, which they then bought in Germany".

Maassen added numerous attempts had been thwarted, but not all were detected. "But we can not guarantee that we spot and block each attempt", he said.

German authorities received evidence of product purchases destined for North Korea's missile program in 2016 and 2017, according to the documentary.

However, Deutsche Welle reported that a North Korea diplomat tried to obtain a "gas-monitor" in 2014.

The German accusations come after the publication last Friday of a United Nations report which says North Korea is flouting sanctions by exporting coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, earning almost US$200 million (S$264 million) in revenue past year.

Last year, North Korea carried out a number of long-range ballistic missile tests.

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