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Old 08-05-2019, 09:37 PM
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A couple of pieces of news today.

First: North Korea fires presumed ballistic missiles as talks stall.
Quote:
North Korea continued to ramp up its weapons demonstrations by firing two presumed short-range ballistic missiles into the sea Tuesday while lashing out at the United States and South Korea for continuing military exercises that the North says could derail fragile nuclear diplomacy.
Quote:
South Korea’s military alerted reporters to the launches minutes before the North’s Foreign Ministry denounced Washington and Seoul over the start of their joint exercises on Monday. The ministry’s statement said the drills, which North Korea sees as an invasion rehearsal, leave the country “compelled to develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defense.”

The statement from an unidentified spokesperson said Pyongyang remains committed to dialogue, but it could seek a “new road” if the allies don’t change their positions.

“It is too axiomatic that a constructive dialogue cannot be expected at a time when a simulated war practice targeted at the dialogue partner is being conducted,” said the statement released by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency. “We remain unchanged in our stand to resolve the issues through dialogue. But the dynamics of dialogue will be more invisible as long as the hostile military moves continue.”
So they want to talk but they're gonna carry a big stick:
Quote:
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the two projectiles the North flew cross-country were likely short-range ballistic missiles. They were launched early Tuesday from an area near the North’s western coast and traveled about 450 kilometers (279 miles) on an apogee of 37 kilometers (23 miles) at a maximum speed of above Mach 6.9 before landing in waters off the country’s eastern coast, the JCS said.

The JCS said the projectiles showed similar flight characteristics to short-range missiles North Korea fired on July 25, which traveled about 600 kilometers (373 miles) during launches the North described a “solemn warning” to South Korea over its plans to continue military drills with the United States.

South Korea’s military had said the flight data of the July missiles showed similarities to the Russian-made Iskander, a solid-fuel, nuclear capable missile that is highly maneuverable and travels on lower trajectories compared to conventional ballistic weapons, improving its chances of evading missile defense systems.
The other news is that NKorea appears to have upped their game in another, very profitable way: UN report: North Korea cyber experts raised up to $2 billion.
Quote:
A panel monitoring U.N. sanctions says North Korean cyber experts have illegally raised money for the country’s weapons of mass destruction programs “with total proceeds to date estimated at up to $2 billion.”

The experts said in a new report to the Security Council that North Korea is using cyberspace “to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income” in violation of sanctions.
21st century conflict is going to be complicated:
Quote:
The experts’ report, seen Monday by The Associated Press, said large-scale attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges by North Korea allow the country “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.”

North Korea also continues to have access to the global financial system, “through bank representatives and networks operating worldwide” as a result of “deficiencies” by U.N. member states in implementing financial sanctions and Pyongyang’s “deceptive practices,” the experts said.
NKorea is also using a number of fronts to move arms, fuel and information:
Quote:
The experts said representatives from three North Korean entities under U.N. sanctions — KOMID, Saeng Pil and Namchongang — continued to operates overseas, including under diplomatic cover, “attempting to transfer conventional weapons and expertise and to procure equipment and technology for the country’s WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs.”

The Munitions Industry Department and other sanctioned entities also continued to raise funds for these programs by sending information technology workers abroad, the panel said. And the Reconnaissance General Bureau and other sanctioned bodies, including the Mansudae Overseas Project Group, “also engaged in the import of luxury goods and attempted sale of frozen assets overseas” in violation of U.N. sanctions.
NKorea isn't helpless, and they're now demanding to be treated as an equal.

Thanks, Trump!
  #902  
Old 08-05-2019, 10:08 PM
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In addition to their ability to scheme their way into ill-gotten crypto gains, I suspect that the North Koreans are now getting a bit more help from China than they were before the Trump-Kim detente began. Now that the US is fully challenging China to an economic death match, there's simply no reason for China to help the US with North Korea at this point, aside from its own self-interest in not seeing another nation possess WMD capabilities.
  #903  
Old 08-07-2019, 02:20 PM
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Some pretty severe posturing going on:
Quote:
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.
Quote:
The KCNA said the launches early Tuesday verified the reliability and combat ability of “new-type tactical guided missiles.” Kim expressed satisfaction and said the launches would send an appropriate level of warning to the military exercises between the United States and South Korea that began on Monday, the report said.
There are numerous pictures at that link, all of which came from the Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK's official news agency.
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