North Korea - South Korea opposition leader avoids jail after court rejects warrant

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a country located in East Asia. It is one of the world’s most isolated and secretive nations. The country shares borders with China, Russia, and South Korea, and its capital city is Pyongyang.

North Korea has a long and complex history that dates back to ancient times. The region that is now North Korea was originally inhabited by various tribes and kingdoms, including the ancient kingdom of Gojoseon, which is said to have been founded in 2333 BC. Over the centuries, the region was conquered and ruled by various powers, including China and Japan.

Following World War II, the Korean peninsula was divided into two zones of occupation, with the Soviet Union occupying the north and the United States occupying the south. The division was intended to be temporary, but it eventually resulted in the establishment of two separate states - North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea was formally established as a communist state in 1948, with Kim Il-sung as its first leader. Kim Il-sung, who was also known as the “Great Leader,” ruled North Korea with an iron fist for over four decades until his death in 1994. He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-il, who continued his father’s legacy of authoritarian rule until his own death in 2011. Kim Jong-il was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un, who remains the country’s current leader.

Political System
North Korea is a one-party state governed by the Workers’ Party of Korea. The country’s political system is based on the ideology of Juche, which emphasizes self-reliance and independence from foreign influence.

The Supreme Leader of North Korea is Kim Jong-un, who holds broad powers over all branches of government. The country’s legislative body is the Supreme People’s Assembly, which is dominated by the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea and serves mainly as a rubber-stamp institution.

Human Rights
North Korea is widely regarded as one of the world’s most repressive and oppressive regimes, with a long history of human rights abuses. The government tightly controls all aspects of society, and the country’s citizens have few freedoms or civil liberties.

The regime’s security apparatus is known for its widespread use of torture, arbitrary detention, and forced labor. Political prisoners are routinely subjected to inhumane treatment in the country’s brutal gulags, which have been compared to Nazi concentration camps.

The government also tightly controls access to information, strictly regulating the media and censoring the internet. North Korea has been ranked last in the world in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index for multiple years.

North Korea is a largely state-run economy that is highly centralized and closed off from the rest of the world. The country is heavily reliant on foreign aid and trade, particularly from China.

The government has made some efforts at economic reform in recent years, including allowing small-scale private enterprise and foreign investment in limited sectors of the economy. However, the country continues to face severe economic challenges, including chronic food shortages and a lack of basic infrastructure.

Nuclear Program
North Korea has a long history of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, which has led to increased tensions with the international community. The country has conducted multiple nuclear tests, including in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016.

The government has justified its nuclear program as a means of defending itself against perceived threats from the United States and other countries. However, the international community has largely condemned the program and imposed a range of economic sanctions on North Korea in an effort to deter further nuclear development.

North Korea remains one of the world’s most isolated and secretive nations, with a long history of human rights abuses and nuclear saber-rattling. The country’s political system is highly authoritarian, and its citizens have little freedom or civil liberties. Despite some limited economic reforms, the country continues to face severe economic challenges and chronic food shortages. The international community remains divided over how to handle North Korea, with some advocating for diplomacy and engagement while others favor continued pressure and sanctions.

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North Korean hackers stole $721 million in cryptocurrency from Japan - Nikkei


23-05-15 10:18

Hacker groups linked to North Korea have snatched cryptocurrency worth $721m from Japan since 2017, according to data from analysis provider Elliptic. The stolen cash comprises about 30% of the global total of illicit cryptocurrency losses, the Nikkei business daily reported. Elliptic also said that the nation had stolen a total of $2.3bn in cryptocurrencies from businesses between 2017 and 2022. The Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors pledged on Saturday to tackle illicit activities by state actors, including the theft of cryptocurrencies.
US staffs up for sanctions crackdown as companies face fresh scrutiny


23-05-15 09:14

US government agencies are mobilising to increase sanctions and export control enforcement as the Biden administration uses economic warfare against Russia and China. US enforcement personnel are expanding beyond traditional areas, looking at cross-border economic activity across all industries. The Justice Department plans to hire more prosecutors for the National Security Division and is increasing funding for the unit dealing with banking industry sanctions. Increasingly businesses feel they are on the front line of national security and are vulnerable to national security legal risks in new markets and industries.
U.S.-Made Technology Is Flowing to Sanctioned Russian Airlines

NY Times

23-05-15 09:00

Illicit networks have reportedly been established to facilitate Russia's violation of international sanctions by delivering aircraft parts via straw buyers across the Middle East and Asia. Thousands of shipments valued at tens of millions of dollars were reported to have been delivered to United States- and European-sanctioned Russian airlines, including Rossiya, Aeroflot, Pobeda Airlines, S7 Airlines, Utair Aviation and Ural Airlines, largely between July and December 2021. William George, the director of research at Import Genius, added the trend in parts shipments indicated the networks "took time to establish" but were "now in a position to help Russian airlines source some key parts". Chiefs at Moscow Recycling, a metals trader, have also been indicted by a US grand jury for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to bribe officials at Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom in order to win contracts between 2011 and 2016.
North Korean crypto thefts target Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong

Nikkei Asia

23-05-15 08:32

North Korea's hacker groups have targeted and stolen $721m worth of cryptocurrencies from Japan since 2017, comprising nearly 30% of the global cryptocurrency losses, said a study by a compliance firm. Researchers believe the stolen currency will be used to fund North Korea's weapons and missile programmes. The findings underscore the increasing significance of cryptocurrency for cybercriminals seeking new ways to evade detection and launder money.
BAT names finance director Marroco as CEO as Bowles bows out


23-05-15 06:26

Tadeu Marroco has been appointed as the new CEO of British American Tobacco, replacing Jack Bowles, who is stepping down after four years. Marroco has been with the company since 1992 and was appointed to its board in 2019. Bowles departs after overseeing the company's transformation towards growth in categories such as vape and e-cigarettes. Last month, BAT agreed to pay more than $635m to US authorities after a subsidiary pleaded guilty to charges that it conspired to violate US sanctions by selling tobacco products to North Korea and committed bank fraud.
North Korea steps up cybercrime amid pandemic hardship, sanctions

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 09:30

North Korea is conducting cyber-operations and hacking cryptocurrency exchanges in order to help fund its nuclear and missile programmes, according to Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology for the Biden administration. She said that about half of North Korea's missile programme had been funded through cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft. Reports have suggested that North Korea stole up to $1bn worth of virtual assets in 2021. Researchers have emphasised the need for international cooperation to combat the country's activities.
Global executions at highest rate for five years


23-05-16 07:30

The global number of executions in 2022 was the highest in five years, according to Amnesty International figures. The 883 recorded executions in 20 countries marked a rise of 53% compared to 2021, with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt accounting for 90% of these executions. The figure does not include China, which is thought to run into thousands each year, with Amnesty saying impaired reporting authority due to China's data classification. Cases of execution were also recorded for North Korea, Vietnam, Syria and Afghanistan, but data was insufficient to provide an accurate figure.
Singapore’s 11 hangings add to record year for executions worldwide in 2022

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 07:17

Amnesty International has released a report revealing that 883 individuals were executed worldwide last year, the highest figure since 2017. The number marks an increase of 53% of the previous year. Importantly, this number excludes secretive executions in China. While Amnesty International notes that China holds the highest number of executions worldwide, Iran ranks second with 576 executions, followed by Saudi Arabia, with 196. The study suggests that nearly 40% of all known executions were for drug-related offenses, violating international human rights law.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un inspects military satellite facility -KCNA


23-05-16 21:35

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected a military satellite facility and approved the next action plan for the country’s non-permanent satellite-launching preparatory committee, according to reports. Earlier this year, Pyongyang revealed it had completed its first military spy satellite and that final launch preparations were underway.
In Pursuing Peace, Japan’s Leader Must Also Prepare for War


23-05-16 20:00

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will use this weekend’s meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) leaders in Hiroshima to promote the elimination of nuclear weapons, but there will be deep irony as Kishida is overseeing the greatest expansion of Japanese military power since the end of World War II. Meanwhile, Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, threatened earlier this year that there would be a "nuclear apocalypse" if the West sent weapons to Ukraine, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol recently suggested his country might need to develop atomic weapons. The G-7 leaders will find common ground on Ukraine, but the issue of China’s increasing assertiveness is a trickier issue to resolve.
North Korea shows Kim Jong Un examining a military spy satellite that may be launched soon

The Toronto Star

23-05-17 02:05

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited the country's aerospace agency to support plans for the forthcoming military spy satellite launch. There has been no indication of the launch time, however, analysts suggest it may happen within weeks. It would use long-range missile technology that has been prohibited by past United Nations Security Council laws. Although previous missile and rocket tests have revealed the country's ability to deliver a satellite into space, there is doubt as to whether the satellite in question will be adequate for fulfilling reconnaissance requirements. South Korean analysts suggest the satellite produced by the state appears too small and poorly manufactured to support high-resolution images. Nevertheless, acquiring a spy satellite would be important for Kim's efforts to reinforce the country's defence as "US imperialists and (South) Korean puppet villains escalate their confrontational moves" against North Korea; its enemies are now boosting their nuclear deterrence strategies to deal with the threat from North Korea.
At Hiroshima G7, bomb survivors grapple with a disarmament dream deferred


23-05-16 23:40

A Group of Seven summit is expected to face significant tensions on the issue of nuclear disarmament. Many atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima fear that the summit may be the last time that world leaders will call for disarmament. For those in the West, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has reminded them of the important role played by nuclear deterrence. The summit is also expected to discuss ways of curbing nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea. Barack Obama, the last US President to visit Hiroshima, chose the city as an opportunity to express his hope for a world without nuclear weapons.
Kim Jong Un inspects North Korea's first spy satellite

Deutsche Welle

23-05-17 04:45

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited a military satellite facility and approved an unspecified "future action plan" aimed at launching the country's first military intelligence satellite, according to the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency. The launch would have to use long-range missile technology, which is banned by UN Security Council resolutions. The visit was Kim's first public appearance in a month. Some analysts predict the launch could happen in the coming weeks. Japan's military has ordered troops to get ready to shoot down satellite fragments that may fall on its territory.
Can China Thread the Needle on Ukraine?

Foreign Affairs

23-05-17 04:00

China is attempting to persuade both sides of the Ukraine conflict to resume negotiations, casting itself as a neutral and helpful global leader. This move comes as China becomes increasingly pessimistic it can prevent the deteriorating US-China relations. While Beijing wishes to preserve its relationship with Russia, it fears that its position viewed as pro-Russia will poison its reputation in Europe, further harming its security environment. As a result, China has attempted to be neutral and offer its good offices to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

The Ukrainian conflict presents complicated challenges for China, potentially strengthening US alliances in Europe and beyond. As a result, Beijing has begun to offer its good offices to resolve the crisis, articulating a vision for global security and becoming more involved diplomatically. China aims to position itself as neutral and limit its support for Russia, even as it prioritizes its partnership with its closest strategic partner.

Recent remarks by the Chinese ambassador to France that the status of Crimea depends on how the problem is perceived provoked widespread condemnation, and 80 European lawmakers urged the French government to expel the ambassador. The Chinese government tried to downplay the situation, stating that the ambassador was only expressing his personal views. China is likely to do just enough to cast itself as a helpful and responsible global leader but not enough to be held accountable for achieving an end to the Ukraine conflict on terms that would be fair and acceptable to both sides.

Trudeau says Canada ready to partner with South Korea on critical minerals, security


23-05-17 02:53

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged the country’s support to South Korea, saying Canada is ready to aid Seoul in subjects ranging from critical minerals to clean energy and North Korea. The two nations also plan to sign an agreement on securing electric vehicle mineral supply chains, energy conversion and energy security cooperation, according to a South Korean government official. Trudeau has urged the region to work on stability in the Indo Pacific and the North Pacific, calling for North Korea to renounce its weapons programmes and return to talks regarding denuclearisation.
At Hiroshima summit, Japan to push against nukes — but world disagrees

Washington Post

23-05-17 16:01

World leaders are gathering in Hiroshima for the Group of Seven nations summit, which Japan is hosting with the goal of advancing Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s dream of “a world without nuclear weapons”. The G7 comes at a time when the world’s largest nuclear powers are increasingly clashing over issues such as the war in Ukraine, the threat of proliferation, and climate change. The memorial forms a stark reminder of the growing threat under President Biden’s watch, and is putting pressure on him to stand up to nuclear-armed adversaries and advance the cause of disarmament.

A debate still rages among historians about whether dropping the bombs was a necessary act by the United States to end the war and prevent more deaths, or an unjustified atrocity calling for apology and regret. In Hiroshima, however, many are simply focused on the need to prevent a recurrence. Joe Biden’s visit to Hiroshima will include meeting survivors of the atomic bomb and visiting the memorial that commemorates an estimated 140,000 people who died during the bombing and its aftermath.

Hosting the G-7 takes on increased significance for Japan as it has been buffeted by many of the proliferating nuclear developments and is the only country ever targeted by a nuclear weapon. Japanese officials hope the moment will resonate especially with Biden, who, to a degree unusual for politicians, is given to public expressions of empathy in the face of loss. Hidehiko Yuzaki, the governor of Hiroshima, said in an interview that visiting the city is important because nuclear deterrence is very theoretical and is often seen as something that just exists in people’s heads.

Japan’s Dream of Nuclear-Free World Crashes Into Reality at Hiroshima G-7


23-05-17 21:00

The Group of Seven meeting, set to begin on Friday, will see Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida appeal to the seven wealthiest democracies to scrap nuclear arms and work towards “a world without nuclear arms”. The strength of his case will be challenged by the security situation in the region, with Japan’s neighbours, North Korea, China and Russia being the possessors of about half of the world's nuclear warheads. The US has recently brought more assets close to Japan and South Korea in a bid to increase deterrence to counter the rising nuclear threats around the world; G-7 statements have highlighted other concerns over non-proliferation, including the rising atomic ambitions of Iran. Critics argue that the US is pulling the group towards an increase in nuclear weapons capability when Kishida is appealing for disarmament. Leaders are therefore expected to try for a balance between disarmament and countering nuclear threats.
Japan, UK re­new se­cu­ri­ty ties, air­craft car­ri­er to de­ploy in 2025

Al Jazeera

23-05-18 02:02

The UK and Japan are set to deepen their security ties and sign a new accord called the "Hiroshima Accord," covering areas such as defence, trade and investment, science and technology, and joint initiatives to tackle global issues such as climate change. As part of the deal, the UK, which is looking to deepen relationships with countries outside Europe after leaving the EU, has committed to deploying an aircraft carrier strike group to the Indo-Pacific in 2025. The two countries will also agree on a formal "Consult Clause," while trade and investment as well as science and technology programmes will be supported under the agreement.
G-7 Hiroshima summit: Who’s attending, what will be discussed?

The Toronto Star

23-05-18 01:50

Leaders from Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Vietnam are to attend the Group of Seven summit (G7) in Hiroshima this year, along with the leaders of the G7 nations. Japanese President Fumio Kishida has a determination to make nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation priorities of this year’s summit, with discussions expected to centre on Putin's threats against Ukraine and China's increasing threats against Taiwan.