US accuses DPRK of more illicit activities

According to Yonhap: 

“An investigation by the Bush administration has found that North Korea’s government officially sanctions criminal products such as counterfeit American currency, narcotics and counterfeit cigarette brands,” the report said.

“The administration is divided over how to use this information, whether to pressure North Korean leaders to give up nuclear weapons, or give up power,” it said.

Years of U.S. investigations, involving 14 federal agencies, have found that the illicit activities are now generating more than half a billion U.S. dollars for Pyongyang, according to NPR.

North Korea is counterfeiting not only the greenback but also the Japanese yen, and well as producing heroin, methamphetamines, fake pharmaceuticals such as Viagra and Marlboro and other cigarettes brands, the report said.

The regime was even counterfeiting tax stamps attached to American cigarette packs.

“You name it, they are pretty much in it,” David Asher, former State Department official who was deeply involved in the North Korean investigations, told NPR.

Mitchell Reiss, who led the probe during his two years at the State Department policy planning office under the first Bush administration, said the scale and scope of North Korea’s illicit activities “surprised” him.


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