N Korea denies drug trafficking


North Korea has denied any involvement in a drug smuggling case in Australia.

North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said the government was consistently opposed to drug smuggling and that the case was “orchestrated to do harm to [North Korea]”.

It was the North’s first comment on the case since an official from North Korea’s ruling party was found on board a ship accused of bringing A$80m (US$50m) worth of heroin into Australia.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer summoned North Korea’s ambassador to Australia and alleged that Pyongyang was involved in the incident.

KCNA said the scandal over the Pong Su freighter was “part of Washington’s moves to increase the international pressure on the DPRK”.

“We will closely watch how the case is dealt with and never tolerate any attempt to use the case for impairing the authority and dignity of the DPRK,” KCNA added.

About 30 North Koreans who were on board the ship are facing trial in Melbourne over the incident.

This is not the first time North Korea has been accused of supplementing its failing economy by trafficking drugs.

Japanese officials have repeatedly accused Pyongyang of bringing methamphetamines and other drugs into their country.

In March, Japanese coast guards discovered drugs in a fishing boat which had travelled from North Korea.


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