North Korea


    Sat April 19, 2003 03:23 AM ET
    SYDNEY (Reuters) - Up to 20 high-ranking North Korean military officers and nuclear
    scientists have defected to the United States and its allies under a plan involving several
    countries including the Pacific state of Nauru, an Australian newspaper said on Saturday.

    The defections began last October after 11 countries agreed to provide consular protection
    to smuggle North Koreans from China, The Weekend Australian said.

    The man seen as the father of North Korea's nuclear program, Kyong Won-ha, was believed
    among the defectors, the newspaper said.

    It said a U.S.-based lawyer approached Nauru's former president, Rene Harris, with an offer
    to foot the bill for establishing Nauruan embassies in Washington and Beijing, ostensibly to
    boost trade ties with those countries.

    But the real reason for the Beijing embassy was "to expedite the movement of these very
    important people," the paper said, citing Harris.

    Nauru's former finance minister, Kinza Clodumar, was quoted as saying he was briefed on
    what was dubbed "Operation Weasel" while with a Nauruan delegation in Washington in

    "We were going to get a (North Korean) nuclear scientist and his family from a farm in China
    and then take them in a Nauru consulate car to an embassy," Clodumar said.

    Some countries agreed to act as transit points for up to 30 days once the defectors left China, the paper said, citing
    "confidential documents and interviews with key players in Washington, the Pacific and North Asia."

    But the paper said in the end, Nauru's diplomatic cover was not used to deliver defectors to safety.

    The operation, which has now been wound up, was managed by Americans and New Zealanders operating at arm's length
    from their governments, the paper said.

    Countries believed to have been involved include the United States, Nauru, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Thailand, the
    Philippines and Spain, the report said.
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  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Administration Divided Over North Korea

    WASHINGTON, April 20
    Published on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 by the Daily Telegraph (UK)

    Rumsfeld Calls for Regime Change in North Korea