While activists work to nail down an international peace walk next month across the heavily militarized corridor that divides the Korean peninsula, event organizers including feminist author Gloria Steinem, might pay closer attention to North Korea's expanding financial web.
That growing ecosystem—including the use of outside commercial banks and fictitious names—allows the ruling elite to move money around the world, and acquire everything from luxury goods to WMD components.
The march is intended to create new pressure to formally end the Korean War that concluded with a cease-fire, and divided the communist north from the democratic south. About 36,000 Americans were killed during the conflict from 1950 to 1953.
But while most North Korean citizens have been isolated from the outside world, leader Kim Jong Un and his ruling elite enjoy international travel privileges and board commercial flights. Collectively they've managed to evade international sanctions and move illicit goods and currency around the world in outposts including financial hubs such as Manhattan.
Now a new report on North Korea makes the case that the rogue state should be put back on a U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism, which would have wide-ranging implications, including limiting the regime's ability to move cash around the globe. Today four states are on the list of state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba. President Barack Obama has said he intends to remove Cuba from the list. (Tweet This)
The report, authored by North Korea expert Joshua Stanton, details the regime's financing of terrorism and intensifying threats against civilian targets, notably North Korean escapees. As outlined in the report and summarized in a presentation Monday night in Washington, D.C., Stanton says North Korea is not only using terrorism as a way to enforce state policy but is increasingly supporting designated terrorist groups including Hezbollah.