A Sydney man spoke of his connection to Kim Jong-un as he worked on behalf of North Korea to export missiles in breach of UN sanctions, a NSW Supreme Court jury has been told.
South Korea-born civil engineer Chan Han Choi allegedly made references to nuclear weapons, "the motherland" and military equipment in negotiations in the four months before his arrest in Sydney in December 2017.
"You will see references of him telling people that he has connections to Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader," crown prosecutor Jennifer Single SC said in her opening address on Wednesday.
"When you look at those occasions where he makes reference to his motherland, it's the crown case there can be no doubt he is referring to North Korea as his motherland."
Also known as Solomon or Sydney Choi, the 62-year-old has pleaded not guilty to two counts of providing services he believed or suspected would or could assist a weapons of mass destruction program.
He has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in conduct that contravened a sanction enforcement law and three of engaging in conduct that contravened a United Nations sanction enforcement law.
Ms Single said the jury would hear of the Eastwood man's "extensive links" to North Korea including at least seven trips to Pyongyang and an account with the country's First Credit Bank that held $600,000.
"He regularly communicates with people who - on the crown case - are from North Korea," Ms Single said.
Choi had brokered past deals on behalf of the DPRK that weren't illegal but they "showed he did in fact have ties to North Korea and was carrying out transactions" on their behalf, she said.
Discussion about exporting missiles allegedly involved Choi talking of building a nursery of trees in Taiwan - a reference the Crown views as the creation of a missile establishment in the island nation.
Choi also spoke of a tactical inertial measurement unit - a piece of navigational equipment the Crown says had "no practical commercial or civil use".
"Its only use is in rugged, military environments," Ms Single said.
He's also accused of trying to export coal to Indonesia by taking it through a nearby Russian port, selling pig iron to South Korea and buying Iranian petrol on behalf of North Korea.
One round of negotiations ended when Choi "formed the opinion it had become too dangerous because of the watchdogs in North Korean waters", Ms Single said.
But Choi's barrister Robert Webb disputed the assertion his client intended to provide a brokering service.
"The real issue is ... is it all just talk or hot air?" Mr Webb said.
"Because if it's all just talk and hot air, that might have a bearing on the element of intention."
Whether Kim Jong-un or anyone with clout in North Korea has ever heard of Mr Choi were also things the jury should consider, he said.
"No single transaction succeeded - not one," he said.
Jurors were warned by Justice Christine Adamson not to do their own research on the geography or politics of North Korea during the trial.
Instead, they were handed maps of the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday and are to hear in coming days from a series of expert witnesses, including a former senior United States counterintelligence official.
Ms Single said it may seem "a bit of a joke" that an Australian citizen from suburban Sydney could broker deals on North Korea's behalf.
But once the entirety of Choi's communications, handwritten notes, emails and phone calls were examined, the jury would "not only conclude it was possible but that it did actually happen".
The trial resumes on Thursday.