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U.S.: North Forged Other Currencies

Posted December. 24, 2005 03:00,   


A U.S. government official said yesterday that North Korea has counterfeited Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, and Thai baht in addition to U.S. dollars.

Alexander Vershbow, U.S. ambassador to Korea, accused the communist regime of making “supernotes,” high-quality counterfeit $100 bills, that were found in Korea earlier this year.

One U.S. government official said in an interview, “I read an internal report produced by the U.S. intelligence agency. And you may want to think about why a Thailand diplomat was invited to the symposium on counterfeit currency hosted by the U.S. State Department on December 16.”

The symposium on counterfeit currency hosted by the State department was attended by diplomats from countries participating in the six-party talks including South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, some EU member countries, Thailand and Singapore.

He added, “If North Korea can forge U.S. dollars, which are known to be the most safeguarded from counterfeiting, perfectly, why wouldn’t it want to do the same for other currencies of neighboring countries.” He made clear that currencies of neighboring countries including Thailand have been counterfeited.

To the question, “Does that mean that South Korean won have also been forged?” He answered, “Please, don’t ask more. You can just think about which countries North Korea might feel closer to, and which currencies it would think would be easier to circulate.”

David Asher, former advisor to the U.S. State Department and head of the North Korea Working Group who has been following the North’s illicit business to earn dollars until June of this year, said in an interview with Dong-A Ilbo, “There is increasing information pointing to North Korea’s involvement in counterfeiting Japanese and Chinese currencies.”

The Supernotes Forged by North Korea-

The U.S. ambassador to Korea said at the breakfast meeting hosted by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation at the Westin Chosun hotel in Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul on Friday, “Korean police didn’t pinpoint the source of supernotes earlier this year, wrapping up its investigation. But we’re confident that they were forged by North Korea, from the results of a comprehensive investigation including various criminal science studies and information analyses. We will share this information with the South Korean government.”

He demanded North Korea “to take verifiable and concrete actions to address this issue. Its simple promise to stop illegal activities regarding currencies will not be sufficient.”

The police arrested Lee (49) for allegedly exchanging 1,400 high-precision counterfeit $100 bills brought from China last April and arrested three others without physical restraint for circulating counterfeit currencies.

The National Intelligence Service announced in June that 17 $100 bills brought by a Korean from the tour to Indonesia were newly forged supernotes.

Seung-Ryun Kim Jung-Ahn Kim srkim@donga.com credo@donga.com