KOREA (NORTH)-PAKISTAN RELATIONS Pakistan developed strong ties with the communist regime of North Korea during the tenure of President (later Prime Minister) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-1977) In 1975, Bhutto invited President Kim Il Sung to visit Pakistan The Korean president was received in Islamabad with a lavish display of hospitality It is not clear whether Bhutto and his government sought military assistance from North Korea; this certainly happened in the 1990s after the United States imposed a total ban on the sale of military equipment to Pakistan It was during this period that Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the head of Pakistan’s program to develop nuclear capability, began to provide technical assistance to Pyongyang for enriching uranium The North Koreans, in turn, provided Pakistan with medium-range missiles and the technical knowhow to manufacture them Pakistan was to claim later that the contacts between Dr Khan and the North Koreans were not authorized by the government In December 2003, the United States exposed the workings of the underground network operated by Dr

Khan, which supplied nuclear technology not only to North Korea but also to Iran and Libya In January 2004, President Pervez Musharraf pledged that the Khan network had been dismantled and that Pakistan had cut all cooperation on nuclear matters with North Korea In February 2005, Pyongyang announced that it was in possession of nuclear weapons This claim was taken seriously by the Western intelligence agencies who were of the view that the country had used plutonium extracted as spent fuel from a nuclear power reactor as the material for the weapons rather than enriched uranium that would have linked the North Korean program closely with that of Pakistan’s

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