Saturday, November 25, 2017

China Cutting Ties with N Korea ?

Opinion: US-North Korea conflict a '50-50 prospect'

One of Australia's leading strategic analysts has warned there is a real prospect of 'serious conflict' between the United States and North Korea next year.

The head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings, said he's pessimistic about the next six months.

'As we move to the mid part of 2018 the North is going to be that much closer to perfecting the one or two areas of technology it needs to perfect in order to have a reliable and credible nucelar weapon able to attack the United States,' he said.

Mr Jennings believes the United States may have to take action before this point, saying diplomatic efforts won't prevent North Korea from improving its technology. [Skynews, Australia, on November 28, 2017]

Such information fits with evaluations made by other sources, saying that military preparation for war would take about six months from now.

Important Updates added on November 26.

Is China cutting off traffic to North Korea for further sanctioning and isolating the regime of Kim Jong-un as U.S. president Trump demanded during his recent visit to Beijing, or is China rather decided to avoid getting directly involved in a major military conflict between North Korea and the alliance of America, Japan and South Korea ?

China is temporarily closing its main road connection with North Korea, an official said on Friday.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, or China-North Korea Friendship Bridge, across the Yalu River at the Chinese city of Dandong will be closed while North Korea repairs the approach road on its side.

Geng said that “after the maintenance, the bridge will reopen for passage,” but gave no date for the reopening or other details.

The bridge closure comes after state-owned airline Air China suspended flights Tuesday between Beijing and North Korea due to a lack of demand, deepening the North's isolation amid mounting UN sanctions.

Beijing is North Korea's only significant ally but has grown increasingly frustrated over its nuclear and missile tests that have brought a threat of war and chaos to China's north eastern border.

In what was seen as a bid to improve relations, the head of the ruling Communist Party's International Department travelled to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, last week.

Few details have been released about his itinerary, including whether he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The trip followed a visit to Beijing earlier this month by US President Donald Trump, who renewed calls for China to step up pressure on North Korea to end its missile and nuclear programmes.

[The Independent, UK, on November 25, 2017]


On November 24 China Customs reported that trade contacts between China and North Korea have gradually been reduced and dropped in size since October. That month, for the first time, neither iron ore nor lead or coal was imported by China. By that move China has implemented the United Nations' resolution on sanctioning North Korea.


In June China's [market organizations] for crude oil and natural gas stopped selling petrol and diesel oil to North Korea.

[DW 多维新闻网 on November 26, 2017]

[South China Morning Post on November 24, 2017]


Will or will not sanctions force North Korea
to abandon [its] nukes ? (Global Hotspot)

The above photo from April 15, 2017, is showing continued military drills
of joint U.S. and South Korean troops at the border to North Korea.

[People's Daily, Beijing, on November 25, 2017]


Song Tao, director of the international liaison department of China's Communist Party, visited North Korea as Xi Jin Ping's special envoy. He returned to China on November 20 [in the evening]. Neither the Chinese nor the North Korean side spread information on whether Song Tao had met with Kim Jong-un or not. However the U.S. immediately listed N Korea another time on the blacklist of terrorist states. What kind of signal such proceedings are likely to release ?

[NTD-TV 新唐人 on November 21, 2017]


North Korean Cyber Crime Mining Foreign Assets

Cyber-crime is now a billion-dollar industry for North Korea. Cracking down on this criminal enterprise presents a strategic opportunity to apply further pressure on the Kim Jong-un regime.

Hard currency generated from cyber-crime is undermining global efforts to impose economic pressure on Pyongyang. As sanctions are imposed against its formal economy, North Korea has increased the scale of its illegal businesses. The massive criminal operation may be equivalent in size to the annual budget of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

To generate such tremendous returns, North Korean hackers steal bitcoin, hold data ransom, and rob foreign banks, including the brazen heist of a sovereign nation’s central bank that netted $81 million. Evidence suggests the spree of bank robberies continues across Australia’s region, with attacks against banks in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The UK government has now also attributed the global WannaCry ransomware attacks that in May crippled thousands of computers to North Korea.

North Korea's leadership views its cyber-capabilities as a unique advantage that it can deploy without fear of retribution. North Korea is one of the least ‘connected’ countries in the world, while its adversaries (countries such as Japan, South Korea, and the US) are internet dependent. And that dependence makes for vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

In the event of a conflict, North Korea likely believes it could remotely attack and degrade the financial systems, telecommunications infrastructure, energy utilities, and media networks of the US and its allies. Pyongyang has previously demonstrated this capability against South Korea, while WannaCry came perilously close to threatening human lives in hospitals around the globe.


China is, of course, key to any success with North Korea. To encourage China's leadership to take action, any legal case must present evidence of North Korean activity taking place on Chinese soil. The Chinese may find it difficult to support such criminality, especially when it threatens the stability of the global financial sector or undermines Chinese commitment to global law and order. China may be willing to bring charges of its own or deport those responsible for the attacks.

[The Interpreter, published by the Australian Lowy Institute on November 26, 2017]

朝鲜 Lazarus 团伙黑客工具分析

Analyzing the hacking tools of N Korea's "Lazarus" group mates.

Source link included to 电锋网, Chinese special interest website on November 16, 2017


Singapore visitor to "blueprint news" reminding an official missile alert
transmitted by Japan's NHK TV while some North Korean rocket was
just passing above Japan's northern region of Hokkaido.

Visitor from Washington DC interested in president Trump's diplomacy of name calling.

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