Did North Korea really bribe Pakistan? | NK News
July 12, 2024
Analysis

Did North Korea really bribe Pakistan?

The Washington Post revealed yesterday accusations and alleged evidence of North Korean bribes for nuclear “know-how” in an article that if true, will prove extremely damning for Pyongyang, Islamabad, and Washington.  Any iota of faith left in North Korea’s desire to ever denuclearize would disappear among any of the remaining believers, for it would confirm that Pyongyang was pursuing a uranium path to nuclear weapons simultaneous to the steps it was taking towards denuclearization in the late 1990s.  The reputation of Pakistan’s former Chief of Army Staff, General Jehangir Karamat (also ex-U.S. Ambassador and Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Commissioner) would be in tatters, raising serious questions in Washington about nuclear security in a country increasingly plagued by terrorism.

In essence, The Post’s story suggests that Abdul Qadeer Khan personally handed over North Korean money to a Pakistani general in 1998 in exchange for nuclear know-how.  To corroborate, Khan provided The Posts’ source (Simon Henderson) with a letter he allegedly received from North Korean Workers’ Party Secretary, Jon Bong-ho, which detailed payments of cash and jewelry intended for two Pakistani generals.  Henderson received the backstory and letter “in the years after  [Khan’s] 2004 arrest by Pakistani authorities”, deciding to pass them onto The Post in 2011 “because he lacked the resources to authenticate it himself”.  But despite The Posts best efforts, the articles author R. Jeffrey Smith admits he was unable to confirm the allegations, instead providing argument and counter-argument from U.S. and Pakistan officials respectively.  Given the serious allegations contained in the article and the potential ramifications if proved true, it is important to look closer at both source and evidence before making any hasty conclusions.

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