Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts

18 August 2019

UN probing 35 North Korean cyberattacks in 17 countries

By: Edith M. Lederer

U.N. experts say they are investigating at least 35 instances in 17 countries of North Koreans using cyberattacks to illegally raise money for weapons of mass destruction programs — and they are calling for sanctions against ships providing gasoline and diesel to the country.

Last week, The Associated Press quoted a summary of a report from the experts which said that North Korea illegally acquired as much as $2 billion from its increasingly sophisticated cyber activities against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The lengthier version of the report, recently seen by the AP, reveals that neighboring South Korea was hardest-hit, the victim of 10 North Korean cyberattacks, followed by India with three attacks, and Bangladesh and Chile with two each.

Thirteen countries suffered one attack — Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam, it said.

16 August 2019

UN probing 35 North Korean cyberattacks in 17 countries

By EDITH M. LEDERER

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, visitors watch the North side from the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea. U.N. experts say they are investigating at least 35 instances in 17 countries of North Koreans using cyberattacks to illegally raise money for its nuclear program, and they are calling for sanctions against ships providing gasoline and diesel to the country. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. experts say they are investigating at least 35 instances in 17 countries of North Koreans using cyberattacks to illegally raise money for weapons of mass destruction programs — and they are calling for sanctions against ships providing gasoline and diesel to the country.

Last week, The Associated Press quoted a summary of a report from the experts which said that North Korea illegally acquired as much as $2 billion from its increasingly sophisticated cyber activities against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges.

15 August 2019

North Korea: Geopolitics and War

Aaron Farley
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The North Korean conflict has been one of the most intractable – and opaque – issues on the international stage for decades. Analysts attempt to read into every new development like a haruspex interpreting so many chicken entrails. The internal politics of the regime are only dimly grasped, and the occasional glimpses the world receive into its inner workings often raise as many questions as they answer. North Korea can – and does – exploit its reputation for unpredictability. Renewed armed conflict with “the hermit kingdom” is a daunting prospect, and policymakers often go to great lengths to minimize this risk.

Due to the closed nature of the regime, it is extremely difficult to make precise assessments about its intentions in any given instance. Nonetheless, enough information is available to make broad guesses about the factors driving North Korean behavior and that of its neighbors. Although nothing is certain, some contingencies are significantly more likely than others. Every major actor in the conflict is constrained by certain geopolitical imperatives which nudge its decision-making in particular directions. These imperatives are significant enough that it is possible to calculate the most likely circumstances under which renewed war is likely, and, to some degree, what the most likely outcome of that war would be.

This analysis is written under the assumption that all parties to the conflict are rational actors. Rational actor is a term whose definition is not always clear. For purposes of this paper, a rational actor is defined as someone whose decision-making is driven by the desire for self-perpetuation i.e. to maintain, and if possible, increase, their own wealth, power, status, etc.

Toward a Better Understanding of North Korea’s Cyber Operations

BY: ROBERT POTTER

The cybersecurity capabilities of the North Korean government are certainly more advanced than a country with such a small economy would traditionally field and should not be underestimated. The commitment of the regime to acquire cybersecurity capacities is consistent with its broader efforts to pursue disruptive technologies such as nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry. While it is assumed that much of the information on North Korea’s cyber capabilities is classified, there is a large amount on their attacks in the public domain, making it relatively easy to unpack and discuss these capabilities abilities (also known as the Lazarus Group, APT37 or Hidden Cobra). A careful reading of this information suggests that while North Korean cyber operations are broadly reported and studied, they are often treated separately from other issues on the peninsula, increasing the risk that decision makers will produce an incomplete analysis of the strategic environment.

North Korean Cyber Operations

12 August 2019

Review – Thucydides on the Outbreak of War

By Seth N. Jaffe

Drums of war have not sounded in Iran but tensions with the United States are dangerously rising after the recent tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman (13/6/2019). Relations between the nuclear armed adversaries, North Korea and the United States, remain strained despite the proclaimed détente following the 2018 Singapore Summit between the leaders of the two countries. The future of the United States-China relationship is replete with dangerous uncertainties that might spiral into conflict. War is again more thinkable than it was in the optimistic years following the end of the Cold War.

In Thucydides on the Outbreak of War: Character and Contest Seth Jaffe offers an eminently readable analysis of Thucydides’ classic work on the History of the Peloponnesian War that addresses the million-dollar question: why do wars break out? Interestingly, he focuses on the relative importance of the opposing national characters of Athens and Sparta, much like the opposing characters of the United States and China or Iran or North Korea, to explain the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. His analysis adds value to contemporary debates about war by virtue of being less deterministic and more psychological than other accounts. His approach departs significantly from (and offers an implicit critique of) recent dominant analyses of Thucydides, like Graham Allison’s thesis that the United States and China are in danger of falling into ‘Thucydides’ Trap’; hence, sleepwalking into a conflict. Jaffe avoids such quasi-deterministic metaphors, and opts for a more holistic analysis of Thucydides’ understanding of history, the specific causes of the Peloponnesian War, and the causes of war in general as a guide for public policy. The whole volume revolves around the elusive concept of the national character of great powers, what shapes it, and how, in turn, it shapes war. Crucially, this can be approximated partly subjectively and partly objectively.

10 August 2019

Kim says North Korean launches were warning to US, South

By KIM TONG-HYUNG

This Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says a new-type tactical guided missile launched from an airfield in the western area of North Korea landing in an islet in waters off the country's eastern coast. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises.

The official Korean Central News Agency said two missiles launched from a western airfield flew across the country and over the area surrounding the capital, Pyongyang, before accurately hitting an island target off its eastern coast.

Kim says North Korean launches were warning to US, South

By KIM TONG-HYUNG

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises.

The official Korean Central News Agency said two missiles launched from a western airfield flew across the country and over the area surrounding the capital, Pyongyang, before accurately hitting an island target off its eastern coast.

Its four rounds of weapons demonstrations in two weeks come during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations and after President Donald Trump repeatedly dismissed the significance of the tests, even though the weapons show North Korea’s ability to strike at U.S. allies South Korea and Japan and its military bases there.

Experts say Trump’s downplaying of the North’s weapons displays allowed the country more room to advance its capabilities and build leverage ahead of negotiations, which could possibly resume sometime after the end of the allies’ drills later this month.

9 August 2019

North Korea took $2 billion in cyberattacks to fund weapons program: U.N. report

Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday.

Pyongyang also “continued to enhance its nuclear and missile programmes although it did not conduct a nuclear test or ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) launch,” said the report to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee by independent experts monitoring compliance over the past six months.

The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on the report, which was submitted to the Security Council committee last week.

7 August 2019

Not Your Father’s Bots

By Sarah Kreps And Miles McCain 


Surveillance images from a U.N. sanctions report purportedly showing a North Korean vessel engaged in illegal trading United Nations Security Council / REUTERS

In the Dispute Between Japan and South Korea, Echoes of Trump’s Trade Policy

Kimberly Ann Elliott

Japan and South Korea are in the midst of a nasty diplomatic dispute, and Japan is using trade restrictions as a weapon to try and resolve it. Beyond the potential threats to American and regional geopolitical interests if the two countries remain at loggerheads, the nature of the spat is also disturbing. Japan’s use of trade restrictions to force South Korea to back down, while publicly justifying them as necessary for national security reasons, echoes U.S. President Donald Trump’s cavalier approach to trade rules and alliance relations. If the dispute is not resolved quickly, it could complicate efforts to deal with North Korea as well as other regional threats, while also dealing another blow to the World Trade Organization and the rules-based trading system.

4 August 2019

Only the United States Can Pull Japan and Korea Back from the Brink


In the vast U.S. alliance network, there are few tasks as prone to disappointment as managing the Japan-South Korea bilateral relationship. Just ask staffers at the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the State Department, who must continually push for enhanced bilateral and trilateral competition in the face of a steep hill of historical and political issues. Even amidst a half-century of occasional spats over these historical debates, U.S. alliance leadership has led to serious accomplishments: the Trilateral Information Sharing Arrangement (TISA), the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), and a litany of bilateral agreements that have significantly expanded trade, military, and people-to-people ties between Japan and South Korea. But while previous disputes threatened to curtail future agreements or derail proposed initiatives, the threat of a full-bore Japan-South Korea trade war over the result of judgement ordering expropriation of Japanese property to compensate former South Korean forced laborersthreatens the very foundations of ties between the two nations. Though it has received little coverage in the Western press, make no mistake: the trade war is now a political war; a full-blown emergency that merits the full attention of U.S. senior leadership.

3 August 2019

Japan and South Korea Can’t Get Along

By Celeste L. Arrington And Andrew Yeo 

Since late last year, a conflict has been steadily building between two of the United States’ closest Asian allies. Last fall, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled in favor of a dozen plaintiffs seeking compensation from Japanese firms that used forced Korean labor during World War II. Relations between the two countries have been deteriorating ever since. Japan is now poised to remove South Korea from its “white list” of trusted countries for trade in sensitive materials—a decision that would hurt both countries’ economies and disrupt global supply chains in the high-tech sector. South Korea, meanwhile, is threatening to withdraw from an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan that facilitates security cooperation between these two key U.S. allies.

2 August 2019

North Korea Launches Ballistic Missiles for Second Time in a Week

By Ankit Panda

North Korea launched two projectiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, South Korean authorities said. The missiles were launched from Kalma on the country’s eastern coast.

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, a first missile was launched at 5:06 a.m. local time and was followed by a second 21 minutes later. Both missiles flew to a range of 250 kilometers with an approximate apogee of 30 kilometers, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff. South Korean authorities have said that further analysis of the missile tests is ongoing.

“Successive missile launches by North Korea are not conducive to efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and we call for a halt to these acts,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs said in a statement.

1 August 2019

What's Driving Japan's Trade Restrictions on South Korea?

By Mina Pollmann

Since the 1980s, countries around the world have bought into the free trade ideology and liberalized trade. Even after the United States, the traditional leader of the global free trade regime, dramatically rejected the benefits of international cooperation by pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Japan stepped up to keep the momentum going for TPP-11. As the world’s fourth largest exporter and fourth largest importer, with limited natural resources and an aging population, it makes eminent sense for Japan to pick up the baton that the United States dropped.

Japan’s leadership on free trade and standardizing regulations is also in line with its self-portrayal as the champion of a rules-based international order. The emphasis on rules is intended to distinguish Japanese leadership from China’s. And yet – despite Japan’s economic self-interest in free trade and rhetorical claims to international standing on the basis of rules – Japan is in the headlines across the world for escalating a trade dispute with South Korea, its third largest export destination and fourth largest import origin. What is behind this seemingly self-defeating policy decision?

North Korea’s Military Capabilities

by Eleanor Albert

Vehicles carry missiles during a military parade in Pyongyang. Sue-Lin Wong/Reuters

The United States and its Asian allies regard North Korea as a grave security threat. North Korea has one of the world’s largest conventional military forces, which, combined with its missile and nuclear tests and aggressive rhetoric, has aroused concern worldwide. But world powers have been ineffective in slowing its path to acquire nuclear weapons.

While it remains among the poorest countries in the world, North Korea spends nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its military, according to U.S. State Department estimates. Its brinkmanship will continue to test regional and international partnerships aimed at preserving stability and security. Recent U.S.-North Korea summits and U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s brief meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone in June 2019, have deepened direct diplomacy. But the negotiations so far demonstrate that the dismantling of North Korea’s arsenal will remain a lengthy and challenging process.
What are North Korea’s nuclear capabilities?

31 July 2019

The Opening of the North Korean Mind

By Jieun Baek 

On a cold, clear night in September 2014, a man I’ll call Ahn walked up to the edge of the Tumen River on the Chinese side of the heavily guarded border between China and North Korea. At its narrowest points, the Tumen measures a little over 150 feet wide, and Ahn could easily see the North Korean side from where he stood. In two bags, he was carrying 100 USB drives filled with films, television shows, music, and e-books from around the world. 

Almost anywhere else, such material would be considered completely innocuous. At this border, however, it constitutes highly illicit, dangerous contraband. In the totalitarian state of North Korea, citizens are allowed to see and hear only those media products created or sanctioned by the government. Pyongyang considers foreign information of any kind a threat and expends great effort keeping it out. The regime’s primary fear is that exposure to words, images, and sounds from the outside world could make North Koreans disillusioned with the state of affairs in their own country, which could lead them to desire—or even demand—change.

25 July 2019

Why North Korea Won the Handshake Summit

by Sukjoon Yoon

On June 30, 2019, President Donald Trump, accompanied by Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea, crossed the border at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). In doing so, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step onto North Korean soil. Also present was South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who is keen to help mediate between America and North Korea in hopes of reviving the denuclearization talks which stalled during the Hanoi summit.

This unprecedented three-way summit appears to have been essentially a made-for-TV spectacular designed for Trump and Kim’s domestic audiences. Trump’s publicity machine constantly emphasizes the feel-good one-to-one personal relationship between Trump and Kim, but a fundamental question remains: is there or will there be any actual progress on denuclearization? 

Three Ways to Break the Stalemate With North Korea

ARIEL (ELI) LEVITE, GEORGE PERKOVICH

Five U.S. presidents have tried to persuade three generations of North Korean leaders to abandon their nuclear weapons program. None have succeeded. The top brass in Pyongyang cannot imagine how it would survive and keep its leverage over others without a nuclear arsenal. Despite this deadlock, there still are ways to meaningfully constrain and eventually roll back North Korea’s nuclear pursuits, ways that Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un might reluctantly accept and that the United States and others should be willing to reward, including with some sanctions relief.

Give U.S. President Donald Trump credit. His fire-and-fury tweets and theatrical charm offensives have produced a halt in some of the most egregious forms of North Korea’s nuclear progress: long-range missile and nuclear tests. But, predictably, that halt has come only after North Korea has accomplished a breakthrough in its program, and Pyongyang steadfastly refuses to hand over its nuclear weapons outright or even lay out a timetable and sequence for doing so. The current halt on testing is also precarious, given Pyongyang’s track record and threats to escalate without diplomatic progress. Washington needs to clarify realistic interim objectives in the upcoming negotiations.

21 July 2019

Three Ways to Break the Stalemate With North Korea

ARIEL (ELI) LEVITE, GEORGE PERKOVICH

Five U.S. presidents have tried to persuade three generations of North Korean leaders to abandon their nuclear weapons program. None have succeeded. The top brass in Pyongyang cannot imagine how it would survive and keep its leverage over others without a nuclear arsenal. Despite this deadlock, there still are ways to meaningfully constrain and eventually roll back North Korea’s nuclear pursuits, ways that Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un might reluctantly accept and that the United States and others should be willing to reward, including with some sanctions relief.

Levite was the principal deputy director general for policy at the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission from 2002 to 2007.

Give U.S. President Donald Trump credit. His fire-and-fury tweets and theatrical charm offensives have produced a halt in some of the most egregious forms of North Korea’s nuclear progress: long-range missile and nuclear tests. But, predictably, that halt has come only after North Korea has accomplished a breakthrough in its program, and Pyongyang steadfastly refuses to hand over its nuclear weapons outright or even lay out a timetable and sequence for doing so. The current halt on testing is also precarious, given Pyongyang’s track record and threats to escalate without diplomatic progress. Washington needs to clarify realistic interim objectives in the upcoming negotiations.

16 July 2019

North Korea’s Military Capabilities

by Eleanor Albert

The United States and its Asian allies regard North Korea as a grave security threat. North Korea has one of the world’s largest conventional military forces, which, combined with its missile and nuclear tests and aggressive rhetoric, has aroused concern worldwide. But world powers have been ineffective in slowing its path to acquire nuclear weapons.

While it remains among the poorest countries in the world, North Korea spends nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its military, according to U.S. State Department estimates. Its brinkmanship will continue to test regional and international partnerships aimed at preserving stability and security. Recent U.S.-North Korea summits and U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s brief meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone in June 2019, have deepened direct diplomacy. But the negotiations so far demonstrate that the dismantling of North Korea’s arsenal will remain a lengthy and challenging process.
What are North Korea’s nuclear capabilities?

North Korea has tested a series of different missiles, including short-, medium-, intermediate-, and intercontinental- range, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.