N. Korea using embassy to buy nuclear tech: German spy chief

Outside the compound of the North Korean Embassy in Berlin late last year

"We determined that from there (the North Korean embassy in Berlin) weapons procurement took place, in our view, with an eye toward the missile program and in part also the nuclear program", Hans-Georg Maassen told German broadcaster ARD. The nation also conducted its sixth nuclear weapon test previous year, claiming that the weapon they detonated was a hydrogen bomb.

Extracts of the interview were published on Saturday.

"If we find such things, we stop it, but we cannot guarantee that this can be prevented in all cases", Massen said, according to a press release cited by CNN".

"When we detect something of this sort, we prevent it", he said.

In an interview set to air Monday, Maassen said the goods shuttled through the diplomatic post were often those that could be used either for civilian or military purposes.

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"They were acquired in other markets or front companies were used to buy them in Germany", he said. "But we can not guarantee that we spot and block each attempt", he said.

In 2014, a North Korean diplomat reportedly tried to obtain a "multi-gas monitor" that is used in the development of chemical weapons.

Despite facing both bilateral and multilateral sanctions over its weapons program, Pyongyang has managed to forge ahead with a series of test launches over recent years.

The German accusations come after the publication on Friday of a United Nations report which says North Korea is flouting sanctions by exporting coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, earning almost $200 million in revenue past year.

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