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The G8 released a joint communique condemning North Korea in the "strongest terms". The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that "North Korea has the ability to launch nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, although they would likely be unreliable." Finally, and perhaps ominously, South Korea's Unification minister made statements, to "'ensure that North Korea recognizes how seriously the current situation is taken in Seoul.'"

Most importantly, we have fun tools! The Guardian has posted a helpful interactive Google Fusion map depicting both military and non-military incidents between the Koreas between 1958 and the present day. (Make sure you go around the globe - there's more.) One tentative conclusion is apparent: although it's only 2 and a half years into the 2010s, the number of incidents has fallen off dramatically from the bad 'ol days.

This is obviously not the first time this has happened - there have been over 150 incidents since the Korean War in 1950, that we know about. The reason we do know about these is because of an exhaustive report by the Congressional Research Service, published in 2007. It covers every incident, from diplomatic hostilities, through to the more serious events where people have died.
Complete Original Cross-Posted at InfidelWorld

Some of these events have occurred around the world.

We wanted to map those events, using Google Fusion tables - and that's what you can see above. There are some hefty caveats here. Where we didn't know the precise location, we have made an educated guess, based on reports and the location details we do have. The other thing worth noting is that this was compiled in the US - a report compiled in Pyongyang would look very very different.

One type of incidents seemingly missing is cyber attacks.
Hackers trained by North Korea’s military have expanded their repertoire from cyberwarfare to financial fraud as part of a bid to skirt international sanctions following weapons tests by Pyongyang, according to a well-informed source.

“Pyongyang has expanded the dossier of the Reconnaissance Directorate General of the North Korean Armed Forces Department from hacking enemy computer networks to ‘earning’ foreign currency on the Internet,” the source, who has first-hand information about the North’s military cybersquads, said Wednesday.

Speaking to RFA’s Korean Service on condition of anonymity, the source said that the North Korean hackers access banking networks in “hostile” countries and disable their security software to steal money from individual or corporate accounts.

The source said that regime leader Kim Jong Un had recently brought hackers of the North Korean military’s special Unit No. 3 back from China, where they had been operating, posing as researchers and businessmen in major cities like Beijing, Dalian, Tianjin and Shanghai.

The source said he was informed that the Reconnaissance Directorate General “had achieved success in sourcing foreign currency for the revitalization of the economy.”

“The Reconnaissance Directorate General is being tasked with making money directly.”

The source said that young leader Kim, who has made threats to attack U.S. bases and South Korea, had expressed great confidence in the North’s cyberespionage capabilities, saying, “I am not afraid of the U.S. sanctions against North Korea.”

“As long as I have the Reconnaissance Directorate General, building a strong country is not a problem.”

Last month, the United Nations imposed sanctions in response to Pyongyang's defiant third nuclear test in February, targeting the illicit activities of North Korea's diplomats, banking relationships, and illicit transfers of bulk cash.

“Kim has expressed self-confidence because the Reconnaissance Directorate General earned a lot of foreign currency online last year,” the source said.

“The North Korean government rewarded several cybercombatants with luxury homes and U.S. dollars, while promoting regular operatives to the ranks of lieutenant colonel or colonel,” he said.

The source said that North Koreans are proud of their cyberespionage units, which they consider to be just as important as nuclear weapons and rocket technology in fighting against South Korea and the U.S.

He said that the North Korean hackers also feel pride because they see their illicit financial activity as an essential contribution to sustaining the impoverished North Korean economy.

A source in China’s Shenyang city, located in Liaoning province along the border with North Korea, said that the North’s cyberhackers also believe that they are taking revenge on hostile countries, such as South Korea and the U.S., rather than committing illegal acts.

He called the cyberunits “well-organized” and said they had “significantly increased their range of activities.”

“In the past, North Korea was under observation internationally due to drug-trafficking and counterfeiting, but now they can safely make money via their computers,” he said.

This shows that American policy towards North Korea is probably antiquated and lacking in comprehensiveness.
No matter what the North Korean media may say about simultaneously developing weapons and the economy, the so-called 'byungjin line', the country has chosen a path of regime maintenance through asymmetrical warfare across three spheres: missile launches, nuclear tests and cyber warfare. It is a realistic approach for them, one that allows for displays of strength without inciting armed conflict as outright physical provocations are now bound to do. The Kim Jong Eun regime needs to expand the leader’s power base, and has concluded that the only effective way to do so in safety is through these means.
The danger now, according to Marcus Noland, is retaliation - by South Korea.
Poll

What Is the Most Dangerous Threat on the Korean Peninsula?

81%31 votes
0%0 votes
5%2 votes
13%5 votes
0%0 votes

| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  South Korea threatening to retaliate (6+ / 0-)

    if attacked by North Korea is the big problem? Sorry, but of course the South should make it clear to Pyongyang that any belligerence will be met by overwhelming force. That is the only way to keep North Korea in check. And should the North decide to fire artillery at civilians in Seoul, I think the world (including China) will understand when the US and South Korea absolutely destroy the North Korean military with targeting bombing. The poor enslaved and starving people of North Korea may not know it but the destruction of their government would be the best thing that could happen for them.

    •  Pottery Barn rule still stands. (0+ / 0-)
      The poor enslaved and starving people of North Korea may not know it but the destruction of their government would be the best thing that could happen for them.
      I hope the administration makes arrangements for China and/or SK to clean up that mess after it's over.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:23:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, North Korea torpedoes & sinks S. Korean ship; (5+ / 0-)

    launches an endless series of cyber-attacks on the South and the U.S.; makes constant dire threats of war and violence; and perpetually brutalizes her own people;

    ....and the 'real danger' is that of retaliation by the South?

    Up is down; black is white; and we have always been at war with Oceania.

  •  I was in South Korea as a Peace Corps Volunteer (0+ / 0-)

    during two of the major provocations, the assassination attempt on President Park Chung Hee and the Pueblo incident, both in 1968. One of the would-be assassins threw a grenade on a bus just before being captured, killing the driver and several passengers, including a good fiend of a good friend of mine.

    If it comes to war, the US will take the lead in flattening the North Korean government and military, while North Korea attempts to flatten Seoul with its 18,000 artillery pieces in caves in the mountains just over the border. It will be quite messy for a short time, with a lot of death and destruction, followed by emergency military government in the North and then reunification.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 10:11:18 PM PDT

  •  A war would kill a million Koreans, (0+ / 0-)

    result in the destruction of NK, and set off a massive economic crisis. Nobody wants a war. NK is ruthless but it isn't stupid. The belligerence from NK is almost entirely due to a young man trying to prove to the old guard that he can bring it, just like his dad. This is about the Kim dynasty. I am not worried. What does worry me is what passes for intelligence in Washington. The word "shallow" doesn't quite cut it.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:52:59 PM PDT

  •  The US's true fuck up is..... (0+ / 0-)

    ... not having developed the technologies required to neutralize NK's artillery, which is the #1 immediate threat to the South.

    NK's 11,000+ artillery pieces can deliver 3 MILLION rounds per hour to the South. Imagine if your city were subject to that kind of bombardment.

    We need(ed) to develop anti-artillery missile systems that could track the first shell fired back to it's exact firing point, and deliver a missile to that point +/- 6 ft within seconds of firing.

    Our second fuckup was ending nuclear weapons research, and not pursuing a magnetic collapse trigger for fusion warheads.... eliminating the atomic triggers and the vast bulk of fallout from our weapons. If we had 200-300 fusion warheads without fission triggers, we could "safely" annihilate NK without threatening nuclear disaster falling on the heads of our allies in SK and Japan.... and Hawaii/California.

    Oh well, pass out the iodine tablets and duck.

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