North Korea Reportedly Asked Israel for $1 Billion in Cash to Halt Missile Sale to Iran

Pyongyang tried to persuade Jerusalem in 1999 to pay up in a meeting between the Israeli and North Korean envoys to Sweden, the Wall Street Journal reports ■ Israel said to have refused the offer

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Missiles at a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, 2017.
Missiles at a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, 2017.Credit: \ Damir Sagolj/ REUTERS

North Korea reportedly extended an offer to Israel in 1999 to nix its agreements to sell missile technology to Iran and other enemy states that posed a threat to the Jewish state at the time - if Israel paid Pyongyang $1 billion in cash.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal published Sunday, Israel did not take the offer. Instead, Jerusalem offered food aid and the talks ended without an agreement.

The alleged and failed extortion attempt took place during an exchange between North Korea's envoy to Sweden and his Israeli counterpart while the pair met in a café in Stockholm, the Journal reported.

The account of this covert exchange has been detailed in a memoir penned by the translator at the meeting, a former senior North Korea diplomat named Thae Yong Ho, who has defected to South Korea two years ago.

>> Israel Ranked Eighth Most Powerful Country in the World

The Israeli government refused request for comment. Iran has denied that it had talks with North Korea on nuclear technology, and its embassy in Seoul also did not respond to a request for comment.

The Journal said that it could not reach the two ambassadors who are reported to have held the talks almost two decades ago- the former Israeli envoy to Sweden, Gideon Ben Ami, and the North Korean ambassador, Son Mu Sin.

Last week, Ben Ami said in a televised interview that he held three meetings with North Korea officials in 1999, but did not disclose any request for payment by North Korea.

North Korea's Son Mu Sin currently serves in the foreign ministry in Pynogyang, according to an official at the North Korean delegation to UNESCO.

The Journal claims that declassified State Department documents from that time attest to the fact that the U.S. and North Korea held talks concerning Pyongyang's missile exports around the time Yong Ho says he and his boss were in touch with Israeli officials.

This report comes against the backdrop of an escalating dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea over the latter's nuclear weapons.

Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held tense talks with Pynogyang in which North Korea accused Donald Trump's administration of making 'gangster-like' unilateral demands and violating the June 12 summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Already signed up? LOG IN


הקלטות מעוז

Jewish Law Above All: Recordings Reveal Far-right MK's Plan to Turn Israel Into Theocracy

איתמר בן גביר

Why I’m Turning My Back on My Jewish Identity

Travelers looking at the Departures board at Ben Gurion Airport. The number of olim who later become yordim is unknown.

Down and Out: Why These New Immigrants Ended Up Leaving Israel

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco as Mia and Lucia in "The White Lotus."

The Reality Behind ‘The White Lotus’ Sex Work Fantasy

The Mossad hit team in Dubai. Exposed by dozens of security cameras

This ‘Dystopian’ Cyber Firm Could Have Saved Mossad Assassins From Exposure

מליאת הכנסת 28.12.22

Comeback Kid: How Netanyahu Took Back Power After 18 Months in Exile