North Korea's Nuclear Sourcing Strategy

Now that Kim Jong-il appears to be done testing his latest volley of overgrown, inaccurate bottle-rockets, more questions than answers remain when it comes to containing the North Korea nuclear threat. But one thing's for sure: it's clear where Pyongyang is sourcing its missile technology. The Nuclear Threat Initiative has a useful site for keeping tabs on where Kim and his cronies are buying expertise and supplies. If you're curious about where North Korea gets its money to fund its nuclear ambitions, it's worth reading congressional testimony on the subject. According to one expert, "North Korea's exports from legitimate businesses in 2001 totaled just $650 million, according to Wall Street Journal reports of April 23, 2003, citing South Korea’s central bank. Income to Pyongyang from illegal drugs in the same year ran between $500 million and $1 billion, while missile sales earned Pyongyang about $560 million in 2001. North Korea is producing some 40 tons of opium a year ... and earns some $100 million a year from counterfeiting currency." Given North Korea's advanced counterfeiting, drug-running, and military export operations, one wonders when they'll get around to trying out strategic sourcing and other Spend Management approaches. Who knows, but perhaps in the meantime, our own military could teach them a thing or two about "no-bid" contracts ...

Jason Busch

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