North Korea offered to end its missile sales to Iran and Syria in exchange for a cash payment of $1 billion from Israel back in 1999, according to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, describing information revealed in a new book by a man named Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean interpreter who defected to South Korea in 2016.
The offer was allegedly made to then-Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Gideon Ben-Ami, by his North Korean counterpart, at a cafe in Stockholm cafe.
Israel reportedly turned down the proposal and instead made a counter offer of food aid in exchange for Pyongyang’s promise to end its missile sales to Israel’s enemies.
North Korea rejected the offer, and has continued to supply nuclear technology, ballistic missiles and other weapons to Iran and Syria ever since.
Ben-Ami confirmed the report, telling Israel’s “Kan” public broadcasting corporation that he and his North Korean counterpart in Sweden, Son Mu Sin, conducted several covert meetings between 1999 and 2002.
Ten North Korean scientists were reportedly killed when Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility that was under construction in September 2007. The plant was reportedly close to completion, and acquiring the ability to produce radioactive materials at the time of the air strike.