aint nth korea a "peach" - any defense???

  1. Yak
    13,672 Posts.
    I wonder how soon the usual suspects will start defending Nth Korea when the Yanks look ready to try and lead the world to deal with this rougue state.

    Soon enough no doubt, soon enough

    North Korean link to drug ship
    By Shelley Hodgson
    April 27, 2003

    THE North Korean Government has been linked to Victoria's biggest heroin bust amid claims the rogue state is sponsoring international heroin trafficking.

    The freighter Pong Su - seized off the New South Wales coast last week - belongs to the North Korean Government's Pongsu Shipping Company, the Sunday Herald Sun has learned.

    Lloyd's List Daily Commercial News, the world's leading authority on shipping issues, says the 4015-tonne Pong Su is part of the five-vessel fleet.

    The Stalinist state's illicit drug operations are outlined in US State Department documents and South Korean intelligence reports obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun.

    The documents say North Korea has increased its drug operations to earn foreign currency to finance food buying as shortages ravage the country.

    The revelation could create further tension between Australia and North Korea, which is at odds with the US over its nuclear weapons program.

    The ship last week allegedly dropped 50kg of high-grade heroin, worth $80 million, at Boggally Creek, 14km west of Lorne, in Victoria. Special operations troops boarded the Pong Su, which in English means Rocket, off Newcastle on Sunday after it refused to enter port.

    The guided-missile frigate HMAS Stuart intercepted the ship, and its captain and 29 crew members - all North Koreans - were arrested.

    Four men - Malaysian, Singaporean and Chinese - had already been charged over the drugs haul. Another man was found drowned on the beach near Lorne.

    A court hearing on Thursday was told the freighter had been extensively modified to carry drugs and had false fuel tanks.

    According to Lloyd's Register, the ship is registered in Nampo, North Korea, but last week it was flying a Tuvalu flag.

    South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) says North Korea has sold illicit drugs through diplomats and businessmen stationed overseas since the 1970s.

    The NIS report says that since the collapse of communism in Europe, North Korea has expanded poppy cultivation dramatically, carrying it out openly across the country.

    "But as the opium smuggling and poppy cultivation farms became known to the international community, North Korea closed farmlands near national borders, set up barbed wire through mobilisation of soldiers to keep up national security and cultivated poppies in secret under the direct control of the security agency, through mobilisation of prisoners from concentration camps," the report says.

    A US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report last month raised fears about the state-sponsored heroin trade - saying it had increased as North Korea's food crisis worsened. "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea Government, it is alleged, illicitly produces narcotic drugs and traffics (sic) in them to earn foreign exchange," the report says. "At least 63 hectares of opium poppy is licitly cultivated in the DPRK.

    "DPRK officials readily acknowledge this and showed it to recent visitors from the International Narcotics Control Board. It is apparently intended for domestic medicinal use.

    "Allegations of North Korean state complicity in the illicit narcotics trade and in other criminal enterprises remain profoundly troubling.

    "Despite close and careful monitoring of North Korea by many law enforcement and foreign affairs agencies, the United States has not been able to determine the extent to which the North Korean Government is involved in manufacturing and trafficking in illegal drugs."

    The secretary of the North Korean Embassy in Canberra, Ma Tong, denied the Pong Su was state-owned and said: "It is privately-owned. Perhaps the private owners might come to Australia later."

    He said Pongsu officials were awaiting visas and added: "I don't know their names."

    The Sunday Herald Sun has learned the Pong Su has docked at 23 ports since March 27 last year, in countries such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

    The Pongsu Shipping Company's phone number in Pyongyang has a recorded message advising that the "desired phone number has no subscriber".

    A South Korean government source said North Korea was desperate for cash and seemed to consider heroin trafficking an acceptable source of funds.

    "The rest of us, after all, are decadent capitalists and if a few of us die or become useless to our societies due to drug addiction, that's all well and good to hasten the coming of the new world order," the source said.

    International politics expert Dr Michael McKinley, of the Australian National University, said that if the Pong Su was run by the state, a minister would be responsible and the ship could not have come to Australia without the knowledge of some members of the Government.

    "There would be people in the North Korean Government who have a fairly definite idea, if not a very specific idea, of what this ship was doing and it would not necessarily extend to the entire Government," Dr McKinley said.

    He said North Korea was in the grip of famine and relied on international food aid despite huge spending on its nuclear program and military.

    Sunday Herald Sun
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