Showing posts with label NKorea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NKorea. Show all posts

April 8, 2015

Would N.Korea’s Crazy Boy be Unleashing a Nuke over South Korea to Say “hi” ‘Im here’


                                                                             

No one’s foolish enough to expect Asia’s bad boy — North Korea — to suddenly turn good. But these days, as Pyongyang makes obvious preparations for a fourth nuclear weapons test, it’s turning downright scary. 
Are the neighbors, including the United States, ready for it? Experts are concluding: maybe not.
As Dr. Patrick Cronin of the Center for a New American Security writes in a new report, the risks of conflict on the Korean peninsula “have not been this significant since the early 1990s.”
Increased activity at North Korea’s main nuclear site has raised expectations that the communist regime’s fourth nuclear test since 2006 will come in the weeks or months ahead. And it’s likely to show off even more sophisticated technology that puts it closer to a delivery capability within range of South Korea, and eventually farther away.
Pyongyang won’t simply drop a bomb on Seoul. But the improved weaponry has raised fears that the North’s paranoid leadership may think it can get more respect when it acts brazenly in provoking the South — and its American ally. If they don’t get this desired respect, what happens then?
That has people scared. How will all of the parties — North and South Korea, the United States, Japan and China — act with the changed balance of military power? Squabbling among themselves over other issues, can they stop long enough to focus on the most immediate threat to regional stability?
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye listen to a reporter’s question at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, April 25, 2014.

SOURCE Getty
Several factors worry the experts:
  • The unstable and unpredictable leadership of the young Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father in 2011
  • A potential economic downturn after Kim abruptly executed his uncle and senior advisor last year — the regime’s main connection to China’s all-important business world
  • Fears of growing internal pressure as global communication and information seep into even this most sealed-off, suppressed society of 25 million
  • South Korea’s new tough line: It has promised to respond to provocations, when in the past they showed restraint. How this would play out in Pyongyang is anyone’s guess.
But most worrisome is Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear mastery, which outside powers have consistently underestimated.
Originally, North Korea relied on plutonium to produce the crude nuclear device it tested in 2006. But in recent years it has revealed an advanced program to enrich mass quantities of uranium. That suggests a far more advanced infrastructure for building a bomb than many outside the opaque regime had realized. 
Pyongyang has also been developing delivery systems: testing missiles and miniaturizing a bomb to fit on them.
North Korean leaders promise new tests and more advanced weapons revelations this year. ”North Koreans have the habit of bluffing and blustering,” says Han Sung-Joo, South Korea’s former foreign minister, at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) last week, but “…they usually do what they announce that they would do,” although ”maybe not exactly in the same way that they project.” 
While the West is watching, Cronin says there remain serious gaps between how United States, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo would react in the case of a North Korean assault — be it live fire, cyber or nuclear — raising the risk of miscommunication and escalation.  It doesn’t help that relations between South Korea, Japan and China have all soured of late, making it harder to work together. 
As Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, observed last week at the CFR, ”The prospect that Iran might acquire nuclear weapons has become sort of the No. 1 fire alarm in the world.” North Korea, on the other hand, has nuclear weapons, and yet ”we kind of proceed, I wouldn’t say with indifference — we express a lot of outrage about it — but we don’t seem to do much.” 
Maybe it’s just hard to take seriously an impoverished country led by a 31-year-old with a bad ’90s hairdo who inveighs absurdly against ”the U.S. and South Korean war maniacs,” and talks of ushering in ”a great heyday in the revolution” in 2014.
Seoul’s Problem Is Washington’s Problem, Too
SOURCE Bobby Yip/Reuters/Corbis

But given what’s at stake, policymakers might want to give it a rethink.
The United States’ military partnership with the South and the deterrent presence of 28,000 U.S. troops mean that the U.S. would be involved in any conflict between the Koreas from the first moment. No need for White House deliberations. Authority to conduct war was supposed to be transferred to Seoul in 2015, but during President Obama’s visit to South Korea last week, the two countries announced they were reviewing that time line. Truth is, the South’s not ready.
The United States remains the big kid on the block. You’d like to think Pyongyang would know better than to tangle with American armed forces, but who knows what they really think?
As Bosworth put it: ”I’m always … bemused by people who can tell me with great certainty what North Korea is doing and why, because I don’t think we really know very much, and never have.”
“Know your enemy,” said the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago.
Worry if you don’t.


from: OZY - Smarter, Fresher, Different 

December 23, 2014

Internet went Silent in North Korea and Now is Back on Again




                                                                          






(Reuters) - North Korea, at the center of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures, experienced a complete Internet outage for hours before links were restored on Tuesday, a U.S. company that monitors Internet infrastructure said.
New Hampshire-based Dyn said the reason for the outage was not known but could range from technological glitches to a hacking attack. Several U.S. officials close to the investigations of the attack on Sony Pictures said the U.S. government was not involved in any cyber action against Pyongyang. 

U.S. President Barack Obama had vowed on Friday to respond to the major cyber attack, which he blamed on North Korea, "in a place and time and manner that we choose." 

Dyn said North Korea's Internet links were unstable on Monday and the country later went completely offline.

"We’re yet to see how stable the new connection is," Jim Cowie, chief scientist for the company, said in a telephone call after the services were restored. 

"The question for the next few hours is whether it will return to the unstable fluctuations we saw before the outage."

Meanwhile South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North, said it could not rule out the involvement of its isolated neighbor in a cyberattack on its nuclear power plant operator. It said only non-critical data was stolen and operations were not at risk, but had asked for U.S. help in investigating. 

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday the leak of data from the nuclear operator was a "grave situation" that was unacceptable as a matter of national security, but she did not mention any involvement of North Korea. 

North Korea is one of the most isolated nations in the world, and the effects of the Internet outage there were not fully clear.

Very few of its 24 million people have access to the Internet. However, major websites, including those of the KCNA state news agency, the main Rodong Sinmun newspaper and the main external public relations company went down for hours.

Almost all its Internet links and traffic pass through China, except, possibly, for some satellite links.

"North Korea has significantly less Internet to lose, compared to other countries with similar populations: Yemen (47 networks), Afghanistan (370 networks), or Taiwan (5,030 networks)," Dyn Research said in a report. 

"And unlike these countries, North Korea maintains dependence on a single international provider, China Unicom."


NO PROOF, CHINA SAYS

The United States requested China's help last Thursday, asking it to shut down servers and routers used by North Korea that run through Chinese networks, senior administration officials told Reuters.

The United States also asked China to identify any North Korean hackers operating in Chinaand, if found, send them back to North Korea. It wants China to send a strong message to Pyongyang that such acts will not be tolerated, the officials said. 

By Monday, China had not responded directly to the U.S. requests, the officials added. 

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday it opposed all forms of cyberattacks and that there was no proof that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hacking. 

North Korea has denied it was behind the cyberattack on Sony and has vowed to hit back against any U.S. retaliation, threatening the White House and the Pentagon.. 

The hackers said they were incensed by a Sony comedy about a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which the movie studio has now pulled from general release.

Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research, said of the outage in North Korea: 

"There's either a benign explanation - their routers are perhaps having a software glitch; that’s possible. It also seems possible that somebody can be directing some sort of an attack against them and they're having trouble staying online."

Other experts said it was possible North Korea was attacked by hackers using a botnet, a cluster of infected computers controlled remotely.

"It would be possible that a patriotic actor could achieve the same results with a botnet, however the President promised a proportional response," said Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Trend Micro.

"The real issue here is that nonstate actors and rogue regimes will adopt this modus operandi in 2015. The use of destructive cyberattacks will become mainstream."

China is North Korea's only major ally and would be central to any U.S. efforts to crack down on the isolated state. But the United States has also accused China of cyber spying in the past and a U.S. official has said the attack on Sony could have used Chinese servers to mask its origin.


(Additional reporting by Meeyoung Cho in Seoul; David Brunnstrom and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Ben Blanchard and Megha Rajagopalan in Beijing; Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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