At least 50 documented incidents in more than 20 countries around the world, many involving the arrest or detention ofNorth Korean diplomats, link North Korea to drug trafficking. Such events, in the context of ongoing, credible, but unproven, allegations of large-scale state sponsorship of drug production and trafficking, raise important issues for the global community in combating international drug trafficking. Reports that North Korea may be limiting some of its food crop production in favour of drug crop production are particularly disturbing, though the acreage in question is comparatively small. Another issue of rising concern is the degree to which profits from any North Korean drug trafficking, counterfeiting, and other crime-for-profit enterprises may be used to underwrite the costs of maintaining or expanding North

Allegations of Drug Trafficking

President Bush's concern over the probable scale of North Korean drug trafficking activity reflects the hardening view expressed in the Department of State's 2003 INCSR, which also notes longstanding DPRK links to drug trafficking:

The 2003 INCSR includes little information on North Korea in its money laundering section, but notes reports that Pyongyang has used Macao to launder counterfeit $100 bills and used Macao's banks as a repository for the proceeds ofNorth Korea's growing trade in illegal drugs [12]. More detail on DPRK criminal activity is included in the 1998 INCSR's money laundering section, which reads in part as follows:

Concerns over North Korean drug production and trafficking have also been expressed in the regular Reports of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board [INCB]. The 1997 Report, for example, in the circumspect language common to such UN documents, notes that 'The Board has received disquieting reports on the drug control situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Therefore, the Board expresses its concern that the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has not yet accepted its proposal, originally made in 1995, to send a mission to that country to study and clarify drug control issues' [14]. In addition, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) data and a plethora of domestic and foreign press reports portray an ongoing pattern of drug trafficking, trafficking of counterfeit US currency [15], and other smuggling-for-profit activities by North Korean diplomats over the past 24 years. Since 1976, North Korea has been linked to over 50 verifiable incidents involving drug seizures in at least 20 countries. A significant number of these cases involved arrest or detention ofNorth Korean diplomats or officials. All but four of these incidents have transpired since the early 1990s [16].