A Secretive NYC Backchannel May Be The Best Hope For Avoiding War With North Korea

In Midtown Manhattan, in a building that also hosts a dermatologist, a sports medicine doctor and a package tour operator, two North Korean diplomats run a backchannel line of communication to U.S. officials in Washington.

The office, known as the “New York channel,” is technically part of the North Korean mission to the United Nations; in the 1990s, during the height of its use, it functioned almost as a de facto embassy. Today, as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trade personal insultsand threats of war, it’s more like a mailbox that each side occasionally uses to pass along messages.  

But as the bluster between Trump and Kim escalates, there are signs that officials in both countries see a need to talk to avert a nuclear standoff. And although the New York channel is relatively quiet for now, it could become central to avoiding a military confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea — as soon as both sides are ready to use it effectively.

These days, the two North Koreans charged with operating the New York channel are Pak Song Il, the ambassador for American affairs at the North Korean mission to the U.N., and his deputy, Kwon Jong Gun.

They usually work in tandem, in part to prevent defection. They meet regularly with so-called “Track II” diplomats — private individuals from the U.S. side who engage in unofficial talks with North Korean government officials — and occasionally with U.S. government officials. They sometimes help arrange limited media tours to North Korea, although they did not respond to multiple interview requests from HuffPost.

There’s a Hallmark store on the ground floor of the building, which also hosts diplomats and officials from Barbados, Bangladesh, Nepal, Croatia, Angola, Peru, Madagascar, Syria and Spain’s Basque region.

“Everybody knows they’re here,” said KJ Singh, the manager of the Hallmark, said of the North Korean U.N. mission. Whenever Kim says something controversial, reporters from Korean or Japanese news outlets gather outside, Singh said.

The Manhattan office building that hosts North Korea's Mission to the United Nations. (Google Maps)The Manhattan office building that hosts North Korea's Mission to the United Nations. (Google Maps)

Pak, who held another position at the U.N. before returning to serve in his current role, is a familiar face to U.S. officials and Track II diplomats. He was previously a researcher at the Institute for Disarmament and Peace, an organization linked to North Korea’s Foreign Ministry that participates in international summits with American academics and government officials.

The North Korean diplomats in New York don’t imitate the bombastic rhetoric of their boss back home, according to several Track II diplomats who have met with them.

“They don’t engage in propaganda, they don’t bang on the table, they don’t engage in threats,” said Robert Carlin,who was the chief of the Northeast Asia Division in the State Department’s intelligence bureau from 1989 to 2002. “Their job is to figure out how to engage the United States.”

“Even when the message is not a good one, my experience with this current team is that it’s done in a measured fashion. They make their points and then they move on,” said Evans Revere, the former head of Korean affairs at the State Department, who still meets with the North Koreans in New York as a private citizen.

They don’t engage in propaganda, they don’t bang on the table, they don’t engage in threats. Their job is to figure out how to engage the United States.
Robert Carlin, former State Department official

The history of the New York channel shows its potential for diplomatic breakthroughs. For decades after the armistice that ended the Korean War, North Korean and American diplomats met on an “episodic and ad hoc” basis, Carlin said.

But in June 1993, as the new administration of then-President Bill Clinton got its foreign policy off the ground, American and North Korean diplomats met in New York. The meeting produced a major victory: The two countries agreed that North Korea would suspend its decision to pull out of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of NuclearWeapons in exchange for a promise from Washington to refrain from military intervention against the regime in Pyongyang.

Seeing the success of the New York meeting, a senior State Department diplomat who specialized in Korean affairs suggested opening a new channel between the two countries.

“No one had any objections,” Carlin said. The New York channel was born, and the two countries finalized a nuclear nonproliferation deal, known as the Agreed Framework, the following year.

In the absence of diplomatic relations, the New York channel gave diplomats a way to meet without U.S. officials traveling 14 hours to Beijing. When Carlin wanted to have an informal conversation with North Korean officials, he would call the then-ambassador at the U.N. mission responsible for American affairs and invent a reason to be in New York. 

“I would go up there sometimes, not officially, and say to the U.N. ambassador, ‘Oh, I’m going to see a relative’ — which I wasn’t — but ‘I’m going up to see a relative. Oh, hey, how about if we have coffee?’” Carlin recalled. “And he would know what that meant.” 

By 1999, Revere, who was at the State Department at the time, decided it was time to pursue better personal relations with North Korea. So when two diplomats fromNorth Korea’s U.N. missiontraveled to Washington for meetings at the State Department, Revere invited them to his house in Herndon, Virginia, for a home-cooked dinner. (Revere declined to name the officials, who predated Pak and Kwon.)

“I sort of gave myself permission,” said Revere, whose office was in charge of issuing waivers that allowed North Korean diplomats to travel to Washington. (The State Department restricts the domestic travel of officials from sanctioned countries like North Korea.) “I don’t think you could get away with it today.”

Revere’s wife, who is Korean, prepared Korean food and played Korean pop music for their guests, who stayed until late into the evening, Revere recalled. The North Koreans teased Revere’s wife about her musical taste, which was apparently outdated, Revere recalled.

The State Department did not respond to HuffPost’s detailed list of questions, including whether State Department officials could, in fact, get away with inviting North Korean diplomats over for dinner.

U.S.-North Korean relations faced a setback when President George W. Bush came into office and declared North Korea part of the “axis of evil.” The Agreed Framework collapsed in 2003.

The New York channel “pretty much dried up” under the Bush administration, Carlin said. State Department officials could no longer travel to New York on their own to meet with North Korean officials. Diplomats “had to have a [National Security Council] minder to make sure that we didn’t do something terrible, like real diplomacy,” Carlin said.

I would go up there sometimes, not officially, and say … ‘I’m going up to see a relative. Oh, hey, how about if we have coffee?’
Robert Carlin, State Department official from 1989 to 2002

Throughout the Obama administration era of strategic patience — a vaguely defined policy of waiting for the North Korean regime to change its calculus before committing to negotiations — the New York channel remained quiet, and was used mostly to talk about Americans imprisoned in North Korea.

Pyongyang suspended communication with Washington last July after the U.S. sanctioned Kim for human rights abuses — but the North Korean ambassador with the U.S. portfolio at the timeremained in New York and continued meeting with Track II diplomats, Carlin said.

When Trump came into office in January, North Korean officials in New York signaled they were open to a fresh start with the new administration. They asked U.S. Track II diplomats how U.S. policy towards the Korean Peninsula would change under Trump.

The unofficial American envoys weren’t always sure how to respond. “Everyone is still trying to figure out Mr. Trump, including us, so I’m not sure we shed a lot of light in that area,” Ralph Cossa, a former assistant to the commander of the military’s Pacific Command, told HuffPost.

North Korea held off on conducting missile tests from the time Trump was elected through his first several weeks in office, and looked for signs that the new American president was interested in reducing tensions. North Korean officials told Cossa that they hoped the annual large-scale joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. would be “toned down” this year.

“I tried to explain to them that these exercises are planned years in advance — so this wasn’t the Trump administration sending you a signal by holding an annual exercise that’s held every year,” Cossa said. But when the exercises went on as planned in March, North Korea took it as a slight.

A U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise near the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)A U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise near the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Since February, Pyongyang has conducted 15 missile tests, including a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach parts of the United States. And after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled a preference for a diplomatic solution, Trump undercut his top diplomat by tweeting vague threats of war and arguing that negotiating with North Korea is a waste of time.

These days, the New York channel is mostly limited to meetings with Track II diplomats. Joseph Yun, the U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, is the only current American official who meets with North Koreans from the country’s U.N. mission, The Associated Press reported in in August. 

Negotiations between Yun and Pak led to the release of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died shortly after North Korea allowed him to return home. But there is no indication that those talks have progressed to serious discussions about North Korea’s nuclear program.

The absence of nuclear negotiations appears to have only encouraged a leap forward in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, putting the country in a better position to shape the terms of any future deal.

“The North Koreans, they know how many more tests they feel they need to hold in order to feel convinced — and believe that we’re convinced — that they’re capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear warhead,” Cossa said. “Once they get through that, I think they’ll probably turn around and say, ‘Ok, now let’s talk,’ and essentially, then they’ll try to get us to pay them to stop misbehaving.”

If that time comes, the New York channel could play a key role. The North Korean diplomats there are well-suited to the task, Revere said.

“They’re attempting to sell a product that no one’s buying,” he said. “But they do the best job.”

Nick Robins-Early contributed reporting.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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N. Korea stole cyber tools from NSA, carried out WannaCry ransomware attack – Microsoft chief

Microsoft President Brad Smith told ITV that he believed “with great confidence” that North Korea was behind the worldwide WannaCry cyberattack. 

READ MORE: WannaCry hackers have not withdrawn any ransom bitcoin, surveillance shows

“I think at this point that all observers in the know have concluded that WannaCry was caused by North Korea using cyber tools or weapons that were stolen from the National Security Agency in the United States,” Smith said. 

According to Smith, over the last six months the world has “seen threats come to life… in new and more serious way.”

“We need governments to come together as they did in Geneva in 1949 and adopt a new digital Geneva Convention that makes clear that these cyber-attacks against civilians, especially in times of peace, are off-limits and a violation of international law,” he added.

There has been speculation that North Korea may have played a significant role in the WannaCry ransomware attack in May. Shortly after the hack, Neel Mehta, a prominent Google security researcher, revealed a resemblance between the code used in what is said to be an early version of WannaCry ransomware, and that in a hacker tool attributed to the notorious Lazarus Group in a Twitter post.

Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab explained in a blog post that Mehta drew parallels between “a WannaCry cryptor sample from February 2017” and “a Lazarus APT [Advanced Persistent Threat] group sample from February 2015.”

The Lazarus Group is believed to be behind high-profile hacking attacks on SWIFT servers of banks, including an attempt to steal $851 million from Bangladesh Central Bank in February 2016.

However, Kaspersky researches said that the apparent use by the WannaCry attackers of similar code is not enough to come to definitive conclusions about its origin, as there is the possibility of it being a false flag operation.

READ MORE: Putin: Malware created by intelligence services can backfire on its creators

“Attribution can always be faked, as it’s only a matter of moving bytes around,” another renowned researcher, Matthieu Suiche from Comae Technologies, said at that time, as cited by Cyberscoop. 

In May, a South Korean government-commissioned report produced by the Financial Security Institute (FSI) said that North Korea was responsible for the attack on Sony’s entertainment business in 2014, which erased vast amounts of data while disseminating emails and personal data of employees, in addition to leaking pirated copies of upcoming film releases.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/406680-microsoft-nkorea-hack-wannacry/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Family dog kills 1-year-old baby in South Korea


A one-year-old baby died in hospital late Monday after being attacked by her family’s pet dog. She was bit on her neck by a 7-year-old Jindo dog in the living room of her apartment located in Siheung, Gyeonggi Province, Friday.

According to the police, the dog had been kept inside a 60-centimeter-tall fence, which was apparently too short to prevent the dog from jumping over.

The dog attacked the baby in her mother’s arm when they were just entering the living room.

The mother rushed the baby to the hospital, but she was pronounced dead four days after the attack. The baby’s father, to whom the dog originally belonged, was not at home when the attack happened.

The victim’s body is to be sent to the National Institute of Scientific Investigation for an autopsy. The police are investigating the exact cause of the victim’s death and whether her parents took proper steps to prevent the fatal incident.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/364055-Family-dog-kills-1-year-old-baby-in-South-Korea

Venezuela rapidly collapsing into another North Korea; nearly all flights halted, media controlled, citizens blocked from escaping

Image: Venezuela rapidly collapsing into another North Korea; nearly all flights halted, media controlled, citizens blocked from escaping

(Natural News)
It looks like more trouble in paradise for the socialist utopia of Venezuela.

The list of issues includes food rationing and widespread starvation, skyrocketing unemployment, rampant crime and social unrest, political corruption and suppression of opposition parties, state-controlled media, hyperinflation, and gasoline shortages despite the country having the world’s largest oil reserves. All this is the legacy of the Hugo Chavez dictatorial regime, whose policies continue under President Nicolas Maduro. The anti-American Chavez nationalized most industries, with devastating consequences.

Many Venezuelan citizens looking for an exit strategy appear to be trapped inside the country, the Sovereign Man website explained in an on-the-ground report.

Nearly every major regional and international carrier has discontinued service to/from Caracas… Overall, Venezuela is being systematically cut off from the rest of the world… Foreign governments are starting to put up barriers to prevent Venezuelans from coming to their countries… Moreover, the visas are becoming harder to acquire…

This is a simple supply/demand issue. There are hardly any airlines flying out of Venezuela, and a whole ton of people who want to get out. So the price goes through the roof… 

For a place that used to be one of the wealthiest countries in the region, Venezuela is now completely destitute.

According to an airline expert, given that most air carriers are abandoning Venezuela because of the ongoing uncertainty, the country is reaching the point where it is almost “disconnected from the rest of the world” and being removed from the international travel map,  the London Telegraph reported.

United and Delta suspended flights to Venezuela earlier this year.

In July, the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory that warned U.S. citizens against visiting Venezuela and implemented security measures for U.S. government employees still there. In addition to the all the byproducts of economic and political anarchy, the State cautioned about the street crime epidemic, including murder, carjacking, kidnapping, and robbery.

Making matters worse, if that’s possible, Natural News reported earlier this year that Venezuela is experiencing a shortage of the materials needed to produce passports. Thousands of citizens have been waiting for months to obtain travel documents, which has given rise to black market bogus passports. The dictatorial government is also preventing dissidents and others from leaving the country.

To the surprise of no one, the limousine liberal cohort that dominates the U.S. mainstream media is downplaying the chaos in Venezuela. (Related: Read more about the situation in Venezuela at Collapse.news.)

“This means there are millions… and millions… of people trapped here. And they’re suffering immeasurably,” Sovereign Man added in its report about Venezuela’s increasing isolation.

While capitalism obviously has many flaws, particularly in connection with crony capitalism that was very much in play under the Obama administration, the Venezuelan model proves that socialism is no solution to society’s shortcomings, whether here or abroad. Many far-Left, redistributionist Democrats still don’t get it, however.

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-09-venezuela-rapidly-collapsing-into-another-north-korea-nearly-all-flights-halted-media-controlled-citizens-blocked-from-escaping.html

BREAKING: N. Korea Preps to Test ICBM Capable of Reaching US as Trump Threatens ‘Calm Before Storm’


Washington, D.C. – Military tensions between the United States and North Korea are reaching critical mass as senior Russian lawmaker Igor Morozov, who just returned from an official diplomatic visit to the DPRK, says that Pyongyang is preparing to test a new ICBM that is capable of hitting the west coast of the US.

“They [North Korea] are preparing to launch a new high range missile. They even gave us calculations, showing that the missile was capable of reaching the western coast of the US,” Morozov said, according to Sputnik, while also commenting that the mood within North Korea was “quite warmongering.”

North Korea received an official diplomatic visit from the Russian delegation between October 2-6, according to the Russian embassy in North Korea.

Since the election of President Trump, the tension between the United States and the DPRK has increased significantly, with Trump and Kim Jong Un exchanging personal attacks and insults, while simultaneously implying and threatening nuclear war in an escalating battle of egos.

As the rhetoric from the US has become more hostile, Pyongyang has continued to engage in missile launches and nuclear tests. The latest missile test by the North Koreans was on September 15, when they launched a missile that flew over the island nation Japan before coming to rest in the northern Pacific some 20 minutes later.

With Trump, some ten days ago tweeting that Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer,” and North Korea responding that such comment was “a declaration of war,” the stakes are extremely high for both governments.

After US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made comments about finding a diplomatic solution, he was quickly rebuked by Trump for “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with the DPRK leadership.

US Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis has consistently pressed for a diplomatic solution to the burgeoning nuclear crisis.

Ironically, a top CIA official said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not the “madman” President Trump says he is, but a “very rational actor” who wants to rule for a long time without the chaos of war, according to Fox News.

Yong Suk Lee, the deputy assistant director of CIA’s Korea Mission Center, said Wednesday that the leader of North Korea was not the “mad man” portrayed by President Trump, The Washington Times reported.

The CIA official noted that “all bluster and rhetoric aside,” Kim “has no interest in going toe-to-toe” with the U.S.

“[Kim Jong Un’s] long-term goal is very clear, [and] it’s been clear for the history of the Kim family regime, to come to some kind of big-power agreement with the United States and remove U.S. forces from the peninsula,” Lee told the crowd during the CIA Ethos and Profession of Intelligence conference at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Lee said Kim, 35, “wants what all authoritarian rulers want … to rule for a very long time and die peacefully in his own bed.”

“We have a tendency in this country and everywhere else to kind of underestimate the conservatism that runs in these authoritarian regimes, and it’s probably the greatest circuit-breaker in any kind of conflict,” Lee said.

Despite Lee’s assertions, just last night President Trump continued making ominous comments during a White House gathering of military leaders, which he cryptically noted was “the calm before the storm.”

The comments came from Trump as he and the first lady posed for a group photo with senior military leaders and their wives in the State Dining Room of the White House, according to ABC News.

“You guys know what this represents? Maybe the calm before the storm,” President Trump said.

“We have the world’s great military people in this room,” he added.

When a reporter asked, “What storm Mr. President?”

President Trump replied, “You’ll find out.”

Trump earlier said the group of senior military leaders would be discussing the most critical national security issues facing the military, including Iran and North Korea.

There are reports that Trump plans to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, which if he does, will be a clear signal to the North Korean leadership that the US cannot be trusted to bargain diplomatically in good faith. This will greatly increase the chances of a military confrontation with North Korea, which could potentially include the use of nuclear weapons by either or both sides – a chilling prospect.

“We cannot allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or allies with unimaginable loss of life,” Trump said, adding that his administration will “do what we must do to prevent that from happening and it will be done, if necessary. Believe me.”

With these latest developments of North Korean ICBM that can reach the west coast of the US being announced by the Russians, Trump had better be cautious of pushing this into a hot conflict that has the potential to go nuclear. A dangerous game is being played – as the lives of millions of people – including potentially those in large metro areas of the US’ west coast could be hanging in the balance.

Trump’s inability to engage diplomatically may be his greatest blunder of all, as a direct hit to the US with a nuclear weapon would almost certainly result in a quasi-civil war within the US, as forces within and outside the security apparatus ie Deep State would likely remove him from office by any means necessary if his posturing results in the massive loss of innocent American lives. Furthermore, the Chinese government has previously announced that if the US attacks the DPRK without provocation, they will intervene militarily in the defense of North Korea.

The most dangerous enemy is one that has been backed into a corner — especially if they have a nuclear capability.

Please share this story so that others can understand the extremely deadly and growing threat the US faces by refusing to engage diplomatically with North Korea!

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2 million may die if North Korea nukes Seoul and Tokyo – report

Over the past few months, the stand-off, with Pyongyang on one side, and the US and its allies on the other, has been escalating, with belligerent rhetoric and provocative military posturing on both sides. Amid these tensions, a study by 38 North – a site on North Korean affairs run by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies – has revealed the potential consequences of a nuclear strike launched by the North on its neighbors.

The report’s author, Michael J. Zagurek Jr., notes that “history is replete with ‘rational actors’ grossly miscalculating, especially in crisis situations,” and that another nuclear or missile test might trigger a hostile reaction from the United States, prompting a nuclear strike from the North Korean regime.

Estimating that Pyongyang has a nuclear arsenal of 25 warheads, Zagurek calculated what would happen if leader Kim Jong-un decides to launch all of them at Seoul and Tokyo, since both Japan and South Korea are key US allies. Accounting for missile defense systems such as the THAAD, deployed in South Korea, and the Aegis Ashore ABM, due to be installed in Japan, he said that “not all 25 North Korean nuclear missile warheads will detonate on their targets.”

Zagurek gave estimates of the casualty rates from 20 percent, 50 percent and 80 percent of the missiles hitting their targets. According to the highest estimates, 2.1 million people would be killed and another 7.7 million wounded.

Japan is the only country to have had two atomic bombs detonate on its territory as an act of war. On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed nuclear weapon over Hiroshima, Japan, killing 80,000 and obliterating 90 percent of the city. This was followed three days later by another bomb dropped on Nagasaki, which killed another 40,000. Earlier that year, Tokyo was firebombed by American planes, leading to 100,000 civilian deaths.

READ MORE: USS ‘Ronald Reagan’, watched by China, conducts drills as North Korea tensions flare

However, as the report notes, population density in metropolitan Japan and South Korea is a lot higher than it was several decades ago. Also, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a strength of around 15-25 kilotons, while the device tested by North Korea in September had a likely strength of 108-205 kilotons.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is being aggravated by both North Korea and the US and its allies. Pyongyang has carried out a number of nuclear tests and missile launches, while the United States has continued to carry out joint exercises with South Korea and Japan while escalating its rhetoric against Pyongyang.

Russia and China have proposed a ‘double-freeze’ solution, in which the US ceases its drills with South Korea in exchange for the North suspending its weapons programs. The US, however, has not accepted the proposal, saying it has every right to carry out exercises with its allies.

Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly stated that the crisis can be resolved only through peaceful means. 

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin also pointed out that should someone decide to attack North Korea in “a disarming strike,” the aftermath of it would be uncertain as “no one knows for sure what is where.”

Washington earlier said that it would only talk to Pyongyang about bringing back Americans who are being detained in North Korea.

“Beyond that, there will be no conversations with North Korea at this time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders stated.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/405774-millions-die-japan-korea-strike/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

WW3: North Korea Spotted Moving Missiles Into Position Ready For Launch

North Korea has been spotted moving an unusually large number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) into position ready for launch as fears mount a strike may be imminent.

South Korean intelligence has confirmed that Kim Jong-un’s regime has begun transferring weapons from the rocket facility dedicated to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in Pyongyang to the country’s launch facilities throughout the state.

US intelligence officials have also detected missiles being transported away from North Korea’s Missile Research and Development Facility at Sanum-dong in the north of the nation’s capital.

South Korea’s military officials have confirmed the missiles appear to be intermediate Hwwasong-12 or intercontinental ballistic (ICBM) Hwasong-14 missiles but stated the facility is dedicated to producing ICBMs.

Express reports: South Korean officials have voiced concerns that North Korea could conduct more provocative acts near the anniversary of the founding of its communist party on October 10, or possibly when China holds its Communist Party Congress on October 18.

A source from South Korea’s Defence Ministry said he could not confirm details of the report or whether there have been any unusual activities in the area mentioned.

The secretive state threatened, via local media, to “shoot down” Donald Trump’s fighter jets after the US Air Force flew past the Demilitarised Zone.The flyover marked the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone any US fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, chief Pentagon spokesman Dana White said last week.

In its editorial, the state-run North Korean outlet claimed: “The US flying its B-1B Lancers strategic bomber squadron over international waters in the East Sea was an immensely dangerous and reckless act that intends to drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula to extremes and an anti-North Korea provocation cannot be overlooked.

“The US’ bellicose, youthful bravado is rather fanning the will for retaliation among tens of millions of our soldiers and civilians. “Our military has been highly motivated with a resolve to shoot down the US flights seeking to trespass in our territorial skies.”

It follows grainy images of the Nampo Naval shipyard on the hermit kingdom’s west coast show Kim is continuing to work on his second barge so his navy can carry out underwater test missile launches. The 68ft barge is identical to another seen at the Sinpo South shipyard on the east coast which has been involved in up to six test launches since 2014.

According to 38 North, which monitors North Korea, it could suggest the hermit state is expanding the submarine-launched ballistic missile and development programme to the west coast.

Experts believe the aerial images of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility also show a central ring that is used to support a missile launch tube during testing. In further signs work is continuing on the second barge, images show it in the same location but the portal crane on the east side is now rotated over.


Source Article from https://worldtruth.tv/ww3-north-korea-spotted-moving-missiles-into-position-ready-for-launch/

South Korea Outlaws Cryptocurrencies Following China & Russia

Seoul, South Korea

Ethereum and bitcoin dropped after South Korea banned domestic initial coin offerings and margin trading in cryptocurrencies.

The Financial Services Commission in Seoul said all forms of ICOs are prohibited in the country, including projects that share profits, rights, dividends, and other “coin-style” offerings, according to a statement. The commission also banned the practice of loaning funds to trade currencies including bitcoin and ethereum, according to an official who clarified the statement. Ethereum fell about 6 percent.

It’s the second major blow to cryptocurrencies this month, after China similarly banned ICOs and later all cryptocurrency trading. Public interest in cryptocurrencies has surged this year, prompting officials to issue warnings about an overheated market and fraudulent activity. ICOs have been used to raise more than $2 billion this year, with some startups seeing it as a cheaper and faster alternative to venture capital for raising money. But the lack of oversight has attracted criminals, with some estimates showing about 10 percent of all ICO funds being stolen by thieves.

  1. China “Gold Super Power” Urging Their Citizens To Diversify Into Physical Gold And Silver Since 2009

“They saw that the best practice was just to ban it before allowing any major crisis to occur, which would have impacted a lot of retail investors there,” said Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing at Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Gatecoin. “Similar to China, they probably didn’t want to ban it, but they didn’t want to take any risk about it getting out of hand.”

The announcement triggered a sell-off in crypto markets. Ethereum, which has become a platform for most ICOs, dropped 5.7 percent, according to Coinbase. Bitcoin fell as much as 3.5 percent. Ethereum and bitcoin are often used to buy into ICOs.

“The majority of ICO tokens are being issued through the ethereum platform,” said Glucksmann. “At any sign of vulnerability, the first reaction would be a mass selloff in ether. That’s why the price of ether is susceptible.”

The government plans to investigate any violations and deal with them strictly even before its measures are legislated, it said in the statement.

Prosecutors in South Korea have recently caught four would-be cryptocurrency traders who illegally raised 25 billion won ($22 million) from 1,000 investors in a pyramid scheme growing in scale, the South Korea commission said. This month authorities also indicted four people on charges of illegally trading cannabis using bitcoin, the commission said.

South Korea also sees bitcoin as potentially vulnerable to North Korean hacking. Its national police agency said this week it confirmed North Korean hackers tried unsuccessfully to hack four bitcoin exchanges using emails containing malicious codes between July and August.

Countries including the U.S., Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong have also issued warnings about ICOs this year, although none has gone so far as to ban the practice. “It would shock me if you don’t see pump-and-dump schemes in the initial coin offering space,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton said Thursdayin Washington.


Bitdigits aka Crypto-digits on a spreadsheet

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  1. Russia & China Outlawed Cryptocurrencies
  2. More Countries Separate Themselves From U.S. Deep State IMF’s SDR, aka; PetroDollar

Source Article from https://politicalvelcraft.org/2017/09/29/south-korea-outlaws-cryptocurrencies-following-china-russia/

North Korea may trigger Eruption of Active Volcano with their Nuke Tests

Home » Asia, Breaking News, Disasters » North Korea may trigger Eruption of Active Volcano with their Nuke Tests


Scientists around the world are watching the activity of Paektu volcano, which is located on the border of China and North Korea.

On September 26, scientists of the Korean Geological Institute initiated an international scientific conference, in which leading seismologists took part.

Paektu Mount is considered a shrine among the people of North Korea (DPRK).

The volcano has started showing signs of activity recently, having caused concerns among scientists in China, South Korea and Japan. Famous volcanologist Richard Stone has recently visited the country to study the volcano.

His studies showed that the earth’s crust underneath the volcano was only 35 km thick, which means that a five-magnitude earthquake may trigger an eruption. It is worthy of note that recent tests of a North Korean hydrogen bomb near Paektu mountains led to a series of micro-earthquakes.

The scientists concluded that another similar test would make the eruption of Pektusan real.



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