By M D Nalapat
Increasingly, funding is coming from individuals in Middle East, many of whom are connected to North Korean cash supply chains through individuals linked to GHQ Rawalpindi.
The capital of Nepal is among the locations on the globe where a North Korean embassy is located, and it is, together with Phuket and Abu Dhabi, the preferred location for secret meetings between representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and GHQ Rawalpindi, with whom Pyongyang has long had numerous “under and over the radar” contacts. Those familiar with the leadership style of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, say that he is a “thoughtful and brilliant individual, very similar in attitude and objectives to his grandfather”, Kim Il Sung. They say that the young leader “spends hours each day studying reports from across the world, especially from the United States, China, Japan and South Korea”, so as to ensure that his “master plan for Korean unification gets fulfilled before his 50th year”. Kim Jong Un was born in 1984 and assumed charge of the DPRK in 2011. The previous South Korean administration led by Park Geun-hye had framed its policies on the assumption that Kim was unpopular and could be toppled, either through assassination or a coup organised by the military and security forces of the North. Those familiar with the working style of the Supreme Leader say that such views are unrealistic, and that Kim Jong Un enjoys wide support within the DPRK, “much more than his father Kim Jong Il”, who was regarded as being “too much trusting (of the promises of South Korean politicians), especially of President Roh Tae-woo”. A source with knowledge of the inner workings within the Kim regime claims that Kim Jong Il, even while his father Kim Il Sung was still alive, “leaned in favour of working out an agreement with South Korean President Roh that would potentially involve the eventual shutting down of the nuclear weapons program”. However, “pressure from the Bill Clinton administration”, which was opposed to the Sunshine Policy as carried out by the peacenik President, ensured the disgrace of Roh, and “the withdrawal by his successor Kim Young Sam of most of the concessions offered by Roh”, thereby killing the chances for a nuclear deal between the Republic of Korea (RoK) and the DPRK. By the time Kim Jong Il took over full power in 1994, Kim Young Sam was President of South Korea and “the (Clinton-inspired) withdrawal from the hand of peace offered by Roh Tae-woo was in full swing”, thereby causing Kim Jong Il to change his stance from supporting a deal to waiting for better terms than were offered by Kim Young Sam, “who was entirely in the hands of the US administration, so far as policies towards the DPRK were concerned”.
Perhaps as a consequence of the earlier history of harsh conditionalities sought by the US “under the inspiration of Japan”, Kim Jong Un has, from the start of his assumption of office (in 2011), the same mistrust of the US that his grandfather Kim Il Sung had, believing that Washington wants to ensure that “Tokyo becomes the overlord of the noble and mighty Korean race, because they know that the Japanese will always do the bidding of the US, while we Koreans have a will of their own”.
GHQ ENSURES MIDEAST CASH
According to those familiar with the Supreme Leader’s style of functioning and his approach towards issues, by 2013 the grandson of the DPRK founder was in full charge of the state. Over the preceding two years, Kim Jong Un had removed (sometimes by execution) those he suspected of looking askance at his declared efforts at charting a course different from that of his father. Since that time, “our brilliant and courageous Supreme Leader (their description) has worked at multiplying alternative sources of financing and supply for the missile and nuclear programs”. According to analysts tracking the clandestine financial operations of the Pakistan army, while part of the funding for both has come from dedicated Information Technology warriors able to penetrate financial systems across the globe to pecuniary advantage, a new source of money has opened up, thanks to elements linked to GHQ. The IT operations focus on “zones less sensitive to US radar, such as Africa and parts of Asia, rather than most of Europe, “although Ukraine is an exception”. However, increasingly, funding for the program has come from High Net Worth individuals in the Middle East, many of whom have been connected to DPRK cash supply chains through individuals linked to GHQ Rawalpindi. “Patriotic (Middle Eastern) individuals wish to revenge themselves on the US for its domination of Arab countries, and regard the development of our (the DPRK’s) nuclear defensive program as being a means of ensuring such revenge,” say Korean sources. The calculation of those active in providing clandestine funding for Pyongyang’s strategic strike force is that a fully developed nuclear offensive capability (by the DPRK against the US) will at the least pull away attention by Washington from the Middle East to East Asia, thereby “giving an opportunity for local patriotic forces (within the GCC) to take control of regimes from those controlled by the US warmongers”. GHQ Rawalpindi, with its network of hawala operators, is an effective conduit for the channelling of substantial amounts of cash to North Korea, presumably after its officers and associates keep a part of the proceeds for themselves and for funding GHQ operations in Afghanistan and India.
Especially after 2013, the Pakistan army has reduced its clandestine operations with its US counterparts, even while it has significantly ramped up such linkages with the Peoples Liberation Army, “which has a different perception regarding the DPRK than that held by the US security establishment”. Indeed, it is clear that Russia and China do not realistically need to fear an attack even by a fully nuclearised North Korea, lines of communication between both and Pyongyang having remained substantial since the 1950s. Both Russia and China are vital to the survival of the ecosystem maintaining the Pyongyang regime, and it would be unimaginable for either to be a military target of the DPRK. In contrast, Japan and the US would be the most likely targets for offensive actions by the DPRK. However, the contacts spoken to repeat that Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un would order an attack “only if it is clear that Japan and the US are about to attack” (the DPRK). They say that Kim is no warmonger, but a leader “devoted to the peaceful re-unification of the Korean people and the global rise of the mighty Korean people”. The expectation is that the window for such re-unification would open, “once the US and Japan desist from interfering in a matter involving only the Korean race”, presumably because of worry that in retaliation for such intervention, North Korean nukes would land on US cities. Although verification of such claims is difficult, those contacted say that already, “missiles that can reach California and Alaska” have been perfected, together with “tested” warheads, and that “this knowledge was made available last month to Tokyo and Washington through intentional dissemination of technical details”.
Although there are credible reports of outside assistance to the North Korean missile and nuclear program, this is denied by those spoken to. They say that it is “an insult to Korean brains” to say that the DPRK needs help from “other races” in order to move ahead with the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and thermonuclear warheads, “which technology is six decades old”. They claim that although the Russian and Chinese governments are ”regrettably sincere” about imposing UN sanctions, “ordinary Russians and Chinese who are opposed to US hegemony ignore such rules and ensure help to us”. Such informal channels have created “multiple small supply lines”, the way that Ho Chi Minh created a capillary system for ferrying materiel and fighters to South Vietnam in the 1970s, despite the merciless bombing of highways, rivers and much else by the US, acting under the direction of Nobel Peace Prize awardee, Henry Kissinger. The contacted persons claim that the Middle East is a location that has influential individuals who are “very sympathetic to the mission of the Supreme Leader” and admit that “some of our friends in Pakistan have been helpful in connecting such (Mideast HNI) elements to us”. They, however, deny any link between such individuals and the Pakistan military, saying that the military in that country “will not stray from what Washington and Beijing want them to do, which is assist in sanctions”. Despite such denials, however, there is clearly another A.Q. Khan network operating within Pakistan, this time supplying the North Koreans not so much technology and components, as access to Middle Eastern cash, although it is likely that there exists clandestine to and fro flows of such items as well between the DPRK and Pakistan.
NO TRUST IN U.S. PROMISES
One fact seems clear from the discussion held with elements considered privy to the thinking of the DPRK leadership. This is that (1) any residual trust in US assurances of safe conduct following the election of Trump has now dwindled to zero, and that (2) Pyongyang will therefore press ahead with the nuclear and missile program without pause, irrespective of international diplomacy. (3) That Middle Eastern individuals opposed to the US and its allies are involved in ensuring that sufficient cash get funnelled towards DPRK entities (including those not registered or regarded as such), so as to ensure a supply of brainpower and materiel that would improve DPRK delivery systems and thermonuclear warheads within the term in office of President Donald J. Trump. (4) That the George W. Bush administration missed an opportunity to take out through force the DPRK’s strategic capability (as it did in the case of Iran), the way Israel has occasionally acted in the case of its neighbours and may do so again. The successor Barack Obama administration remained focused less on significant practical concessions other than the provision of verbal guarantees of safe conduct that were already shown to have been worthless in Iraq, Libya and Syria. In other words, “they offer just promises but expect in return not just words but action from us”. The North Koreans believe, for example, that NATO pressure on Bashar Assad and his followers to (in effect) commit mass suicide rose substantially after his stock of chemical weapons was destroyed “with a part (according to these sources) kept apart to use occasionally so as to blame Assad for their use by (NATO) proxies”. (5) Supreme Leader Kim believes that only a capacity for Mutual Assured Destruction between the US and the DPRK will protect the country from a US-Japan attack. As for South Korea, the calculation is that “the Korean people would revolt against the South Korean government, were the Seoul regime to join Japan and the US in attacking the brave Korean nation”, although this may be an incorrect assessment, given the willingness of the South Korean military to take on the North. (6) Kim Jong Un is fixated on the same objective sought by his grandfather, which was to unify the peninsula under his leadership, and believes that nuclear capability would help ensure this without a war with the South.
NEARLY IMMUNE FROM U.S. ATTACK
As time (and the Pyongyang nuclear program) moves ahead, the window for success at an affordable price in US, Japanese and South Korean lives in a military operation designed to destroy the North Korean nuclear and missile program seems to be closing at speed. Supreme Leader Kim believes the Trump administration’s fiery rhetoric to be a bluff, and thus far, events are bearing out such a view. Focusing exclusively on UN sanctions on the formal economy of the DPRK, the US seems largely unaware of the way in which a vast and secretive sanctions-proof capillary network has been set up by the Pyongyang leadership to ensure that the nuclear and missile plans meet the objective of reducing large parts of cities on both US coasts to radioactive rubble. In other words, Kim Jong Un is dismayingly close to reaching a stage that would ensure immunity from attack from the US and Japan. This would leave Pyongyang free to administer jabs and pinpricks at both, the way a nuclearised Pakistan has been doing with India since the 1980s, beginning with the fomenting of the Khalistan insurgency and the revival of the Kashmir troubles.
Russia and China would watch from the sidelines as Japan and the US experience the effects of asymmetrical warfare from a regime that makes itself immune through possession of deadly retaliatory force.