In these realms, fun and games take a back seat to blood, treasure, and power. Move over, Dennis Rodman. Kim’s real pals are located in places where there is money, oil, and support to be garnered for the purpose of sustaining the North Korean regime. For that, North Korea looks chiefly these days to one of its longtime munitions and missile clients, Iran. Last September, in Tehran, a high-level North Korean delegation signed a Scientific Cooperation Agreement with the government of Iran. North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency reported that among the Iranian officials present for the signing, along with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, the minister of defense, and the governor of Iran’s Central Bank.
That is not a group that suggests Iran and North Korea are engaging in scientific cooperation in order to build better basketball courts. This deal carried alarming echoes of a 2002 agreement between North Korea and Syria, which former U.S. State Department official David Asher described in congressional testimony last week as having firmed up the nuclear cooperation with which North Korea helped Syria build a clandestine reactor on the Euphrates River. More details on this in my recent Forbes column on “The Iran-North Korea Axis of Proliferation.”
Related: I have some thoughts on “North Korea, Lies and Videotape,” at the PJ Tatler.