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Did NK Develop Nukes with South Korean Funds?

October 22nd, 2006 . by Gerry-Bevers

The Dong-A Ilbo has an interesting interview with a researcher from the Japan Center for International Finance. The following excerpt may give you an ideal what it is about:

On October 19, Dr. Yun Min-ho (51), a special researcher of Japan Center for International Finance, a major Japanese government think tank, said with concern during an interview with Dong-A Ilbo, “If the South Korean government continues its current North Korean policies, it is likely that the U.S. and Japan, and even China will avoid South Korea.”

He said, “The South Korean government is not disclosing much clearly, but various economic situations prove that North Korea has developed nuclear weapons with the funds that the South has been shoveling into the North.”

“Firms With N. Korean Ties Blacklisted?”


15 Responses to “Did NK Develop Nukes with South Korean Funds?”

  1. comment number 1 by: sqz

    I saw in downtown Seoul, a demonstration opposing the participation of Korean in the WMD Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). It amazes me that people are ignoring this current situation of “having a bomb made by my money drop on my head.”

    enjoyKoreaでは日常茶飯事です。
    It is a daily occurrence in enjoyKorea.

  2. comment number 2 by: ponta

    If the South Korean government continues its current North Korean policies, it is likely that the U.S. and Japan, and even China will avoid South Korea.”

    If South Korea is left out by US, Japan and China, it will not have a country to request for help

    I don’t think China will avoid South Korea. The interpretation that the Koguryo and Palhae was a part of ancient China made it possible for China to claim that North Koreans were brother of Chinese. Then, it is easy for China to assume that after all South Koreans are brothers of Chinese. I am sure China will act as a big brother of Koreans as it had be for hundreds of years.. The problem is whether South Koreans welcome it. Anything is possible in Korea.

  3. comment number 3 by: tomato

    The interpretation that the Koguryo and Palhae was a part of ancient China made it possible for China to claim that North Koreans were brother of Chinese

    Ponta, do you buy this argument? I think the South Koreans are just paranoid, or have ambitions about Manchuria.

    There is no proof that Koguryo and Palhae are ethnic Korean kingdoms. In fact, even Koreans admit that there might be genetic relationship between the Koguryo language and Japanese (but not between the Shilla language and Japanese) and Palhae was apparently made up of Jurchens (ancestors of the Manchu) according to Chinese records.

    Unless If one can find a Chinese source that cleary states that it is China’s wish to incorporate Korean history as Chinese, I don’t buy this argument at all. It’s just speculation by paranoid Koreans.

  4. comment number 4 by: ponta

    Ponta, do you buy this argument? I

    Me? I don’t give a damn about it.
    But Andrei Lankov seems to think so.

    The point is that China wants a pretext under which China can intervene Korea. It might be a bliss for the world if that happens. Chinese politics is more predictable than Korean. And many Koreans seem to think Korea under China was much better than Korea under Japan. If the US finally give up on Korea, it might be that Koreans themselves will want to receive the sacred influence of China again. I have no objection if that might be their choice.

  5. comment number 5 by: usinkorea

    There is no question the money from South Korea funded the nuclear development – as did the massive food aid from the international community since the mid-1990s.

    When you have a country as poor as North Korea – with as little cash flow and an overabundance of needs – both real and perceived – money in one area frees up money in another.

    Massive amounts of food aid frees up any funds the government would have spent on those needs. This is one of the things that frustrated humanitarian agencies: rather than do as a normal government would – use the food aid as an addition to efforts to overcome food shortages that continued — or like – pouring the freed up money into agricultural development, medical supplies, something beneficial to meet the current and future needs of the people directly related to food and health secuity —- Pyongyang took the food aid for granted and diverted funds to other things – like the military and luxury items it needs to keep the elite happy enough to keep the masses down.

    There is not question that the money poured into NK through Kaesong and the tourism projects has helped NK fund its missile and nuke programs.

  6. comment number 6 by: YoungRocco

    USinKorea:

    How are you doing?

    I do believe this is the first time I have had the opportunity to speak to you, so hello. Let me just say that it is a pleasure to meet you.

    I read your post and found it interesting. However, there are a couple parts where you go off the mark.

    There is no question the money from South Korea funded the nuclear development – as did the massive food aid from the international community since the mid-1990s.

    Your argument is very weak here.

    Do you have evidence that money from the Inter-Korean business projects directly funded the creation of nuclear weapons? Maybe the money went into closing North Korea’s trade deficit with China? Perhaps it went into funding the Children’s Palaces in Pyeongyang? On the other hand maybe the money went into buying Kim Jong Il a cask of the finest amontillado…

    In any event, I would suggest that you refrain from making unfounded and unreasonable arguments. Don’t take the easy route. Do the research before you make a claim. You’re not George Soros, so I assume you’re not in the speculation business. 😉

    Oh, and speaking of contributions towards NK nuclear portfolio, I saw this little article in the latest edition of newsweek. Here is the excerpt I found to be most enlightening:

    Driven by two men with near-absolute power, North Korea’s program was produced by a staggering cast of characters. They included idealistic Korean scientists educated in Imperial Japan and repatriated after World War II, their students educated in the Soviet Union and the thousands of homegrown technicians. Japan, one of the North’s hardiest enemies today, gave Pyongyang the man deemed the “first father” of North Korea’s nuclear program, the late scientist and inventor Lee Sung Ki, who earned a degree in chemical engineering at Kyoto Imperial University in 1931. In fact, despite its deep isolation, the Hermit Kingdom is known or suspected to have received nuclear assistance from 14 countries: Russia, China, Austria, France, Canada, Romania, Germany, Pakistan, India, Japan, Iran, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Reference: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15265432/site/newsweek/page/1/

    Oh, and I’m sure Japan’s purchase of North Korean Mitsutake mushrooms added at least a little bit to North Korea’s finances as well.

    So, if you do wish to engage in finger pointing, you have no further to look than the mirror.

    I eagerly await to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  7. comment number 7 by: usinkorea

    Hey, Roc…..try reading the comment again. The point was easily recognizable, but you seemed to have missed it….

    the finger pointing line was a hoot…

    but I had not stopped laughing about the money being freed up going to closing the trade gap with China. My eyes teared up and side split on that one…

    If your apparent Korean nationalism had not been wounded by the “finger pointing” you might have noticed the finger was pointed everywhere and the main point completely nullified having to “research” to “prove” funds from Kaesong and the tours went “directly” into nuclear research.

  8. comment number 8 by: ponta

    Youngrocco

    Here is the excerpt I found to be most enlightening:

    They included idealistic Korean scientists educated in Imperial Japan and repatriated after World War II

    That shows how scientific education in Imperial Japan was great and it also shows Japan gave equal opportunity to the higher education for Korean people. It might be enlightening to you , but it is not enlightening at all for those who know history .Korea knew virtually no western science until Japan open the door of Korea. Is it also enlightening?

    Oh, and I’m sure Japan’s purchase of North Korean Mitsutake mushrooms added at least a little bit to North Korea’s finances as well.

    Sure , a little bit , sure. And the trade is banned now.

    Yun Min-ho’s argument is convincing.

    ― Does that mean North Korea developed nuclear weapons with the funds given to them by the South Korean government?

    “There is no clear evidence, but various economic situations prove that fact. North Korea’s GDP turned into a plus since 1998. It may be a coincidence but this is when South Korea started shoveling money to the North. The South Korean government has not been disclosing this information. It is said that, because of shoveling, North Korean economy was easily recovered after the natural disasters and floods in the early 1990s.”

    If a country with starving people get money, and still there are starving people but developed costly nuclear weapon, it is reasonable to suppose the money did not go to the starving people but to the development of nuclear weapon.
    South Korea stopped rice for hungry but will it continue cash for Nuke?

  9. comment number 9 by: tomato

    ponta,

    Isn’t Lankov seeing too much from the South Korean side of things? S Koreans has been boasting connection with Koguryo and Pohai in order to prove how great they are…I guess connections with Shilla, Koryo and Chosun-all Chinese vassal states- aren’t satisfactory with them. Just another example of history distortion by the Koreans.

    I don’t think China wants Korea…nobody does. If China wants to administer N Korea, I would care less, but unfortunately (?), China probably has other issues to take care before intervening with Korea.

  10. comment number 10 by: ponta

    Isn’t Lankov seeing too much from the South Korean side of things?

    Reading some of his articles, I sometimes have that impression. yes.

    I don’t think China wants Korea…nobody does

    hehe.
    Nobody wants Korea, but I think China wants the influence over there.
    I think the world should push China to do something about North Korea: we can say like, “we don’t want to see some western nations absent from Beijing Olympic because of political situation.”

  11. comment number 11 by: empraptor

    YoungRocco,

    It’s not unreasonable at all to suspect that funds from SK and elsewhere helped NK nuke programs. I doubt we need to trace every single cent of each source to say this.

    Sure, most likely not all of those resoruces went into NK nukes. But instead of trying to say that they directly funded the nuke program, it is enough to say the resources were provided to NK in goodwill and that they were given or traded for goods with the understanding that NK will not do something like this.

    It would have been better if NK had tested their nukes and missiles with less confrontational attitude and without fanfare. But I suppose that would miss the whole point of getting US attention.

    Having a nuclear weapon is not inherently bad. It’s NK’s threats that are bad. So I don’t think you need to try to find Imperial Japan at fault for NK nukes. And building nukes is no longer about pure science and research but rather know-how and technology. Given will and resources, I would think any state could build nukes.

  12. comment number 12 by: sqz

    [Opinion] Propaganda Tools

    Such arguments saying, “North Korea will never launch nuclear weapons against South Korea,” and “The U.S. is responsible for the North’s development of nuclear weapons,” are all false images and by-products of the sunshine policy. North Korea has never hesitated to threaten South Korea by saying a war, if occurs, will begin in the Korean peninsula first. However, the government has been treating the communist regime as if they are pacifists. South Korean politicians, who pushed ahead with the visit to the Gaesong complex in the midst of the nuclear crisis, seemed to have enjoyed his time dancing with North Korean women. And South Korean politicians who pushed ahead with a short trip to Mount Geumgang could even have been able to conclude that they have confirmed North Korea’s willingness to give up their nuclear weapons program. I wonder whether they know they have been used as tools of North Korea’s propaganda.

  13. comment number 13 by: YoungRocco

    UsInKorea:

    Thanks for your post.

    You have nothing to worry about. I completely understood the thrust of your argument.

    The point of your post was pretty straightforward. You claim that South Korea has funded North Korean nuclear weapons development. To bolster your claim, you cite South Korea’s humanitarian aid as well as the inter-korean reconcilliation projects at Kaesong and Mount Keumgang.

    Your argument merely parrots those of several people who are critical of the sunshine policy. You’re not saying anything new or substantial, which is why your argument is fairly easy to refute.

    Your argument fails on two grounds:

    1. North Korea’s nuclear development program has been in operation since the very beginning of the regime. As cited in the newsweek article, North Korea has been obsessed with gaining nuclear technology ever since McArthur threatened to drop nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Kaesong and Mt. Keumgang have been in operation for less than a decade.

    2. You claim that food aid that goes to North Korea aids in funding its nuclear program. You reason that foreign aid that helps to feed North Korea’s starving people is freed up for weapons development. The central failing with this argument is fairly obvious and can be expressed in a simple question: Would North Korea have diverted money from its defense program to stem the humanitarian program? If the answer is yes, then your answer has merit. If the answer is no, then your argument fall flat.

    I eagerly await to hear your response.

    And I’m glad I could add some humor and joy to your life. 🙂

  14. comment number 14 by: GarlicBreath

    Young Rocco,

    1. North Korea’s nuclear development program has been in operation since the very beginning of the regime. As cited in the newsweek article, North Korea has been obsessed with gaining nuclear technology ever since McArthur threatened to drop nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Kaesong and Mt. Keumgang have been in operation for less than a decade.

    False: Not proven. You are engaging in speculation. Please prove your thesis.

    Have a nice day. I am glad to bring joy in your life.

  15. comment number 15 by: usinkorea

    Young Rocco

    🙂

    I love condescention from someone who needs to grow up.

    I’ll be frank: you look very stupid with that last comment.

    I guess NK has been paying for the nuke development today with funds stored up since the 1950s?

    That is a clue I’m giving you about why your point (1) is about as useless as can possibly be.

    As for #2, —- you are saying if South Korea (and others) had not been pumping aid (in more forms than just food aid, but stick with food aid if you want) – they would not have diverted any resources from the military and defense programs?

    How old are you?