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Kim Jong Un’s ambition – Part 2: Office 39

Saturday’s “NHK Special” aired the second part of a series on how Kim Jong Un is able to maintain his regime and nuclear and missile development program despite the international community’s stepping up its economic sanctions against the country. The program focused on how the Kim regime earns foreign currency, saying that a secret agency within the Workers’ Party of Korea called Office 39 holds the key. The network interviewed five people who are either former Office 39 officials or involved in the office’s operations, saying that it earns or obtains about 30 to 60 billion yen in foreign currency annually, both through legal and illegal means. The money obtained is used freely at the discretion of the North Korean leader to consolidate his power base, such as to purchase extravagant gifts for senior party officials and bureaucrats who pledge loyalty to the regime. One of the former officials said that the office will do anything to evade the economic sanctions on the North, including hacking the networks of financial institutions, in order to earn money for the North Korean leader.

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