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Signs detected of N.K. preparing for PyeongChang Paralympics: Seoul (Yonhap News) South Korea’s unification ministry said Tuesday that there are some signs that North Korea is preparing to take part in the PyeongChang Paralympics slated for March, though the North has not officially announced if it is joining.
The PyeongChang Paralympics will be held from March 9-18 in South Korea, after the South hosts the Winter Olympics from Feb. 9-25. North Korea has yet to officially express its intent to participate in the events. “At the working level, North Korea is known to be preparing for the Paralympics,” said an official at the Ministry of Unification.
The official said that he cannot elaborate on details, adding that whether North Korean athletes are undergoing overseas training is not verified. Seoul is pinning hopes on the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics as it believes that the move will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
President Moon Jae-in said that he proposed to the United States delaying the allies’ joint military drills that would coincide with the PyeongChang Olympics or the Paralympics. The North has long denounced the exercises as a war rehearsal despite the allies’ reassurance that they are defensive in nature.
North Korea UN ambassador demands US prove ransomware claim (LA Times) North Korea’s envoy in charge of U.S. affairs at the United Nations demanded Washington provide evidence to back up its claim Pyongyang was behind the Wannacry ransomware attack, an allegation has said was a “baseless provocation” being used to generate tensions.
Pak Song Il told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from New York late Monday that Pyongyang sees the allegation as an effort to create an “extremely confrontational atmosphere.””If they are so sure, show us the evidence,” he said.The WannaCry ransomware attack infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service in May.
U.S. Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published last week that the U.S. administration had determined North Korea was behind the WannaCry attack. He said its finding of responsibility is based on evidence that has been confirmed by other governments and private companies, including the United Kingdom and Microsoft.He wrote that North Korea would be held accountable.
North Korea’s state-run media quickly condemned the accusation, saying Pyongyang would never tolerate such “reckless” claims. It called Bossert’s claim a “grave political provocation” and vowed to retaliate.
Officials in Washington and Seoul have accused the North of launching a series of cyberattacks in recent years, including the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment over the movie “The Interview,” a black comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.The North has denied those accusations as well.
N. Korea likely to explore possibility of talks with U.S. in 2018: ministry (Yonhap News) “North Korea may continue to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities while searching for an outlet externally,” the ministry said in its predictions for North Korea in 2018. “In searching for the recognition of its status as a de facto nuclear-possessing state, (the North) would explore the possibility of negotiations with the U.S…”
At the same time, the North is also likely to attempt to engage with South Korea in order to restore inter-Korean relations next year, it also said. It added that the ministry will closely watch North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year address on Jan. 1 to see if it alludes to such possibilities. For this year, North Korea has distanced itself from dialogue and engagement with South Korea as it attempted to work out its relationship with the U.S. ahead of that with the South, according to the ministry.
Next year, North Korea is expected to start to feel the pinch of international and bilateral sanctions on the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the ministry said.
Kim Jong Un says he will embark on large and bold projects (Dong-a Ilbo) North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as saying that he would embark on large and bold projects to build a great socialist country at the fifth conference of cell chairs of the Workers’ Party of Korea.Kim was also quoted as saying by Sunday’s report, “What we have done so far is only the start, and the Workers’ Party is planning bold and larger projects for the people.”
Some interpret the “bold and large projects” as the resumption of talks, but others believe he will make additional provocations different from past missile launches. They could even be the missile fires near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which was announced by Kim Jong Un in August, or launching North Korea’s new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Hwasong-15 that was launched last month at a normal angle. However, the public opinion is that the rogue regime is referring to internal discipline of the party.
South Korean presidential office Chung Wa Dae is cautious in responding, while saying, “We will have to watch North Korea closely to figure out its real intention and future plans.”
N. Korea Says It’s a ‘Pipe Dream’ That It Will Give Up Nukes (New York Times) North Korea said it is a “pipe dream” for the United States to think it will give up its nuclear weapons, and called the latest U.N. sanctions to target the country “an act of war” that violates its sovereignty.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says can reach anywhere on the U.S. mainland. The resolution was drafted by the United States and negotiated with the North’s closest ally, China.
“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the ‘resolution,'” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The ministry said the sanctions are tantamount to a “complete economic blockade” of North Korea.
“If the U.S. wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships,” said the statement, carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.