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TRIBUNE SPECIAL
N-nexus exposes murky details
N. Korean diplomatís wife was shot in Pak
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 6
The wife of North Koreaís Economic Counsellor at the countryís Embassy in Pakistan was murdered in June 1998, an incident which marked the turning point in the international inquest into North Korea-Pakistan nexus for the missile-for-nuclear-technology barter.

The woman was murdered because she was providing details of missile deals between North Korea and Pakistan to the western intelligence agencies and had been done to death by North Korean agents working in the A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (AQKRL) in Pakistan, according to classified information available with the Atal Behari Vajpayee government here.

Significantly, the murdered womanís husband, Kang Thae-Yun, was the local representative of Changgwang Sinyong, the key supplier of missile components to Pakistan and Iran.

Though the USA has been trying to play down the involvement of Pakistan on the issue, it was Washington which had imposed sanctions on the AQKRL and Changgwang Sinyong, their sub-units and successors for two years, immediately after the test firing of the Ghauri missile in 1998.

The Indian intelligence agencies have also had inputs on the secret nexus between North Korean diplomats and Pakistanís Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The North Korean diplomats and Pakistani agents coordinated the import of illegal shipment of arms.

The recent admission by North Korea that it possesses a uranium enrichment programme only established the suspicion of its neighbours and the USA that the agreed framework signed between the Americans and the North Koreans in 1994.

Sources said equally anticipated was the fact that the Communist country had procured the centrifuge technology for enriching uranium from Pakistan as a quid pro quo to the North Korean liquid propellant-based ballistic missile technology.

While both the countries have denied entering into any such deal, the evidences are far too many to prove that an ominous relationship existed between Pyongyang and Islamabad and that this relationship probably still continues, sources added.

The North Korea-Pakistan nuclear nexus came up for discussion during the talks the Indian leadership had with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who concluded his three-day state visit to India on December 5 and also the USAís Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley who is currently here.

Meanwhile, Mr Hadley called on External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and confabulated with him for over an hour. He leaves for Washington tomorrow.

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