North Korea operates a vast global arms and nuclear materials trading network, and two men related by marriage largely control this expanding operation. In announcing economic sanctions yesterday, the Obama administration named Chun Byung-ho and Yun Ho-jin—likely Chun's son-in-law—who have shipped components for nuclear reactors, long-range missiles, and other arms to Iran, Syria, and Myanmar. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the shadowy pair.
Chun runs a committee overseeing Office 99, North Korea's little-known foreign trade office, which sells arms and funnels the proceeds directly to dictator Kim Jong Il. Yun owns an arms company. Together the two have built a network of front companies in Asia and Europe and have partnered with Asian crime syndicates to move money and goods. Yun also does business openly in China, making deals with a Chinese state-owned firm. "There is no reason to assume that Chun and Yun won't sell nuclear weapons," says a former Bush administration official who spent a decade tracking Pyongyang's arms trade. "There needs to be an active effort to disrupt their WMD networks and drive them out of business now, before it's too late."