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NUKEWARS
US official warns N. Korea against nuclear test
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jan 16, 2013


S. Korea says North behind cyber attack on newspaper
Seoul (AFP) Jan 16, 2013 - South Korean police on Wednesday said North Korea was behind a cyber-attack that paralysed operations at a major conservative newspaper last year.

Police accused the North of hacking the news website and database of the JoongAng Ilbo and sister English paper the Korea JoongAng Daily last June, saying the ministry of post and telecommunications might have been involved.

Both papers lost data connected with articles and photos after the attack, during which a photo of a white cat and the statement "Hacked by IsOne" was posted on the website homepage.

The police Cyber Terror Response Centre said the IP address of an overseas server used in the hacking operation was identical to that used in previous cyber-attacks by North Korea.

The attack came a week after North Korea had threatened JoongAng and other South Korean media outlets for their coverage of a mass children's event in Pyongyang which they compared to a Nazi youth rally.

The North's military listed the coordinates of several news outlets saying its missile units and other forces had already targeted their buildings.

Seoul says Pyongyang has an elite team of hackers.

South Korea accused the North of staging cyber-attacks on websites of South Korean government agencies and financial institutions in July 2009 and March 2011.

Seoul also denounced North Korea for jamming the GPS systems of hundreds of civilian aircraft and ships in South Korea in April and May last year.

The top US diplomat for East Asian affairs warned North Korea on Wednesday against any "provocative" act, as concerns grow that Pyongyang might be preparing a nuclear test.

"We are very clear in our position that provocative steps are to be discouraged," Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told reporters in Seoul when asked about the nuclear test speculation.

Campbell was in Seoul to meet with top officials, including president-elect Park Geun-Hye.

The impoverished but nuclear-armed North successfully staged a long-range rocket launch in December, sparking global security concerns and drawing UN condemnation and calls from the US and its allies for tougher sanctions.

Pyongyang said the launch was a purely scientific mission aimed at placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite in space.

Most of the world saw it as a disguised ballistic missile test that violated UN resolutions imposed after the North's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Both of those tests came after long-range missile launches.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, citing satellite imagery analysis, said late last month the North was capable of carrying out a nuclear test at two weeks' notice after repairing damage to its test facility.

Campbell said "intense deliberations" were under way at the UN Security Council on how to punish Pyongyang for last month's rocket launch.

"We anticipate formal steps in the Security Council in the immediate future," he said, stressing Washington was in "very detailed conversations" with key players such as Russia and the North's sole major ally China.

Beijing is resisting any significant tightening of sanctions already in place against Pyongyang.

In a briefing with journalists Wednesday, a South Korean government security expert said North Korea's next nuclear test could see a uranium device used for the first time, rather than plutonium as was the case in 2006 and 2009.

"It needs to spare plutonium obtained from earlier reprocessing of spent fuel rods, while a uranium enrichment programme is sustainable for continuous testing," the expert said.

"Such tests are essential for North Korea to miniaturise nuclear weapons to fit them onto missiles," the expert added.

Estimates on how far North Korea has progressed with its uranium enrichment programme vary widely, and some question whether it has succeeded in producing any weapons-grade uranium.

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NUKEWARS
China notes S. Korean frustration with Pyongyang policy
Seoul (AFP) Jan 11, 2013
A top Chinese envoy acknowledged Friday South Korea's "dissatisfaction" with China's policy towards North Korea, but asked for Seoul's understanding over Beijing's reluctance to punish Pyongyang. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun also suggested that China and South Korea should stand side by side in pushing Japan to face up to its aggressive militaristic past. Zhang was wrapping ... read more


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