all eyes on north korea
January 13, 2020

White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told Axios in an interview published Sunday that President Trump wants to resume diplomacy with North Korea, and has made overtures.

"We've reached out to the North Koreans and let them know that we would like to continue the negotiations in Stockholm that were last undertaken in early October," O'Brien said. Those working-level nuclear talks were called off before anything was agreed upon, with North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, saying the United States would "not give up their old viewpoint and attitude."

In December, Kim warned the United States that his country would send a "Christmas gift," which many experts thought referred to a missile test. "All we know is we were told we were going to get a Christmas gift and the Christmas gift didn't come," O'Brien said. "And so I think that was an encouraging sign. But, again, that doesn't mean we won't see some sort of test in the future." Catherine Garcia

December 5, 2019

A satellite image captured Thursday shows activity at a rocket launching site that North Korea had previously dismantled, CNN reports.

The image of Sohae Satellite Launching Station, obtained by CNN and analyzed by experts, shows a large shipping container at the facility's test stand, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute. This was the first time analysts have seen this container, he added, and it could indicate that North Korea will soon start conducting engine tests at the site again. These engines would be used to power satellite launchers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, CNN reports.

While at the NATO summit in London on Tuesday, Trump mused that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "really likes sending rockets up, doesn't he? That's why I call him Rocket Man." Trump also said he has a "good relationship" with Kim, but his remarks still irked Choe Son Hui, North Korea's first vice-foreign minister. According to North Korean state media, Choe declared that "if any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again on purpose at a crucial moment as now, that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard." Catherine Garcia

October 1, 2019

One day after saying the country agreed to hold working-level talks with the United States over the weekend, North Korea fired at least one unidentified projectile into the sea.

The launch happened on Wednesday morning near Wonsan, the South Korean military and Japanese Coast Guard said, and is the ninth to take place since June. Japan says two projectiles were fired, and one looks to have fallen into the water inside Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea have been stalled since February, when President Trump left early from his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two met again in June, in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Catherine Garcia

September 10, 2019

Shortly after offering to hold new nuclear talks with the United States, North Korea on Tuesday launched at least two unidentified projectiles toward the sea, the South Korean military said.

South Korea said the projectiles were fired from an area near the capital, Pyongyang, and went about 205 miles. This was North Korea's eighth launch since July, Al Jazeera reports, with the country previously testing short-range missile and rocket artillery systems.

Late Monday, senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui said her country is open to restarting nuclear diplomacy with the United States, holding "comprehensive discussions in late September of the issues we have so far taken up, at a time and place to be agreed." One stipulation is that U.S. comes prepared with a "proposal geared to the interests" of North Korea, she added. In response, President Trump called her comments "interesting." Catherine Garcia

August 28, 2019

New satellite images taken on Monday suggest North Korea may be constructing a new ballistic missile submarine, analysts from the Beyond Parallel research project said Tuesday.

The photos of Sinpo South Shipyard show support vessels and a crane, which could be used during a test launch, the analysts said. The analysts said there is no conclusive evidence that a test will happen soon, and the threat is "emerging rather than imminent."

In July, North Korean state media said leader Kim Jong Un inspected a newly built submarine. The analysts said Sinpo South Shipyard has been a hub of activity for the last three years, and the "images suggest North Korea is making real progress in developing a second leg of the nuclear triad, bringing them closer to a survivable nuclear force." Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2019

North Korea fired at least two projectiles into the sea off its east coast on Friday morning, the South Korean military said, not long after the country declared that it will no longer hold peace talks with South Korea.

Over the last month, North Korea has conducted several missile tests. South Korea said the projectiles fired on Friday reached an altitude of 18 miles and traveled 140 miles.

North Korea is angry over a speech South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered on Thursday, commemorating the anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan. Moon said he wants to see the Korean peninsula united by 2045, and warned that denuclearization is at its "most critical juncture."

In a statement, North Korea said Moon had no business talking about peace talks as his country conducts joint military drills with the United States. Pyongyang considers these drills, which started last week, a "rehearsal for war," North Korea said, adding that Moon is a "shameless man" and the breakdown of talks is "completely the fault of South Korea's actions." Catherine Garcia

August 5, 2019

A new United Nations report states that North Korea is using "widespread and increasingly sophisticated" cyberattacks to steal money in order to fund its weapons of mass destruction programs, Reuters says.

The confidential report, compiled by a group of independent experts and obtained by Reuters on Monday, was submitted last week to the U.N. Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee. The report said that by stealing money from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, North Korea has brought in an estimated $2 billion.

The attacks are becoming harder to trace, Reuters reports, and the experts are investigating at least 35 incidents in 17 countries. These cyber actors are reportedly operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's top military intelligence agency. Catherine Garcia

July 30, 2019

Early Wednesday morning, North Korea launched multiple unidentified projectiles from around its Hodo Peninsula, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff told CNN.

The military is now "tracking and watching the related movement in preparation to additional launches, and is maintaining readiness posture," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Last week, North Korea fired two new short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan, which South Korea considered a threat. North Korean state media said the tests — which were "personally organized" by the country's leader, Kim Jong Un — were meant to send a "solemn warning to the South Korean military." Catherine Garcia

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