Tuesday January 21, 2020
Home Lead Story Revitalizing ...

Revitalizing North Korea Talks With U.S. After Failed Hanoi Summit

“North Korea is proposing a ‘nuclear-free zone of the Korean peninsula,’” he said. It’s a concept first introduced by Kim Il Sung 30 years ago.

0
//
Korea
President Donald Trump hands a pen to South Korean President Moon Jae-In during a signing ceremony for the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in New York. VOA

South Korean President Moon Jae-in heads for Washington Wednesday, where he will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday. Moon said previously he hoped his trip to the United States will revitalize stalled talks with North Korea that collapsed after Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to reach an agreement during their February summit in Hanoi.

Harry Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center of the National Interest, told VOA Moon’s Washington trip serves two purposes.

First, Kazianis said, Moon “wants to make sure that the talks [between Pyongyang and Washington] continue.”

He said the “bare minimum” Moon needs to accomplish during his trip is “to keep both sides sort of engaged” and “smooth over” any rough patches.

“I think what he’s really going to try and do is to see if both parties can split the difference,” said Kazianis.

That’s something that may be possible. Speaking last week on the televised news program CBS This Morning, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said diplomatic channels remained open and there had been ongoing “conversations after Hanoi about how to move forward.”

In addition, Pompeo said he was “confident” there would be a third summit between the two leaders, possibly in the coming months; however, he gave no details.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 7, 2018.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 7, 2018.

​Cheon Seong Whon, a visiting research fellow at The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, was not as optimistic about fruitful discussions with Pyongyang.

“[The United States] cannot dampen the mood on talks; therefore the emphasis on [Pompeo’s] positive remarks,” said Cheon. “I do not think they are seriously considering that North Korea will give up their nukes [because] North Korea has never said that they will stop nuclear and missile development.”

Sanctions relief

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has advocated for inter-Korean projects as a way to further peace on the Korean peninsula. These efforts include reopening the joint industrial complex in Kaesong and resuming tours at Mount Kumgang, but doing so would run afoul of international sanctions.

Pompeo said economic sanctions on North Korea would not be lifted until Pyongyang abandoned its nuclear weapons; nevertheless, local South Korean media reports that Moon will propose easing sanctions on North Korea when he meets with President Trump.

“Kim is obviously not going to fully denuclearize right away,” said Kazianis, noting that the United States would probably not drop its sanctions against North Korea if Kim made a “small move.”

U.S.
Pompeo said economic sanctions on North Korea would not be lifted until Pyongyang abandoned its nuclear weapons; nevertheless, local South Korean media reports that Moon will propose easing sanctions on North Korea when he meets with President Trump. VOA

Therefore, Kazianis envisions a situation where the United States would temporarily drop sanctions if North Korea would completely abandon the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

“That allows both sides to continue on in the process, and I think that’s something Moon can do,” he said.

Cheon is unsure an easing of sanctions will bring about the desired results on the peninsula.

“From 1991, when the North Korean nuclear issue began, to the current sanction, the [South] Korean and U.S. governments have participated” in a repetitive cycle, he said.

Seoul and Washington have attempted to create a “virtuous cycle” where incentives were given to North Korea in exchange for a decrease in threatening behavior, said Cheon, calling the practice a “historically proven failure.”

Unlike Presidents Trump and Moon, Kim Jong Un can “wait things out” since the United States and South Korea have fixed terms for their leaders, Kazianis asserted.

“So if Trump and Moon are serious [about negotiating with Kim about denuclearization], they’re going to have to put their best package together pretty soon, then I think we’re going to be able to find out if Kim is serious,” he said.

Kazianis added, “If that’s not the case, then we’re going to have to move to probably tougher position.”

That’s something that may be necessary said Cheon.

“North Korea is proposing a ‘nuclear-free zone of the Korean peninsula,’” he said. It’s a concept first introduced by Kim Il Sung 30 years ago.

Cheon explained that North Korea is seeking to remove South Korea from the United States’ nuclear umbrella, prohibit the deployment of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, withdraw U.S. forces, and prohibit the deployment of strategic assets.

Also Read: Reports on Illegal Activity in Nation Will Be Rewarded By North Korea’s Government

“South Korea and the U.S. should establish their positions and develop a stable alliance to ensure North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons,” urged Cheon.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in departed Seoul April 10 and meets in Washington with U.S. President Donald Trump, Thursday, April 11. (VOA)

Next Story

North Korea Hackers Target Think Tanks, Activists; Reveals Microsoft

By using forwarding rules, Thallium can continue to see email received by the victim, even after the victim's account password is updated

0
microsoft, xbox
FILE - A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

Microsoft has revealed that a North Korea-linked hacker group has stolen the sensitive personal information of government employees, think tanks, university staff members, members of organizations focused on world peace and human rights, as well as individuals who work on nuclear proliferation-related issues.

Microsoft has now gained control of 50 domains that the group uses to conduct its operations, the company said on Monday.

With this action, the sites can no longer be used to execute attacks.

A court case against the hacker group, called Thallium, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, resulted in a court order enabling Microsoft to take control of the web domains, Microsoft Customer Security and Trust Vice President Tom Burt said in a blog post.

Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) and the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has been tracking and gathering information on Thallium, monitoring the group’s activities to establish and operate a network of websites, domains and Internet-connected computers.

This network was used to target victims and then compromise their online accounts, infect their computers, compromise the security of their networks and steal sensitive information.

Most targets were based in the US, as well as Japan and South Korea, Burt said.

Like many cybercriminals and threat actors, Thallium typically attempts to trick victims through a technique known as spear phishing.

FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash.
FILE – Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. VOA

By gathering information about the targeted individuals from social media, public personnel directories from organizations the individual is involved with and other public sources, Thallium is able to craft a personalized spear-phishing email in a way that gives the email credibility to the target.

The link in the email redirects the user to a website requesting the user’s account credentials.

By tricking victims into clicking on the fraudulent links and providing their credentials, Thallium is then able to log into the victim’s account.

Upon successful compromise of a victim account, Thallium can review emails, contact lists, calendar appointments and anything else of interest in the compromised account.

The hackers often also creates a new mail forwarding rule in the victim’s account settings. This mail forwarding rule will forward all new emails received by the victim to Thallium-controlled accounts.

Also Read: Actor Pankaj Tripathi Likes to Put Work Before Vacay Plans

By using forwarding rules, Thallium can continue to see email received by the victim, even after the victim’s account password is updated.

“You can protect yourself from these types of attacks in at least three ways. We recommend, first, that you enable two-factor authentication on all business and personal email accounts,” Burt said.

“Second, learn how to spot phishing schemes and protect yourself from them. Third, enable security alerts about links and files from suspicious websites and carefully check your email forwarding rules for any suspicious activity,” he added. (IANS)