By Lee Jong-Heon | World Tribune
North Korea exported more than 2 tons of gold to China over the past year in exchange for $100 million in currency — a desperate moved caused by a dysfunctional economy and international sanctions, a diplomatic source in Seoul said.
The money from the gold seems to have gone to purchase imported luxuries for the country’s new leader Kim Jong-Un and members of the ruling elite instead of buying food for starving people, the source said.
The gold exports were spearheaded by Office No. 39 (also known as Room 39 or Bureau 39) of the Workers’ Party and the People’s Armed Forces Ministry, the most powerful organs in the country, according to the source.
Office No. 39 is the linchpin of Kim’s “court economy” centered on the dynastic family and is the nerve center of country’s slush fund-raising operations.