No one can quite figure out why North Korea has become even more unhinged than usual, but it’s clear that they are itching for some kind of action. Whether that’s diplomatic action or some other kind, no one really knows for sure. CNN reports on the latest threat from Pyongyang, a warning that the DPRK could launch pre-emptive attacks on American bases in the region, which came after an annual military exercise with South Korea this week:
Pyongyang has done more than talk. They allegedly conducted a massive hacking attack on South Korea’s banking and media sectors, which forced banks to close temporarily to fix the damage. They have reopened, and have hardened their defenses:
South Korea said Friday it was preparing for the possibility of more cyberattacks as a new team of investigators tried to determine if North Korea was behind a synchronized shutdown of tens of thousands of computers at six South Korean banks and media companies.
Many in Seoul suspect hackers loyal to Pyongyang were responsible for Wednesday’s attack, but South Korean officials have yet to assign blame and say they have no proof yet of North Korea’s involvement. Pyongyang hasn’t yet mentioned the shutdown. …
Determining who’s behind a digital attack is often difficult. But North Korea is a leading suspect for several reasons. It has unleashed a torrent of threats against Seoul and Washington since punishing U.N. sanctions were imposed for Pyongyang’s Feb. 12 nuclear test. It calls ongoing routine U.S.-South Korean military drills a threat to its existence. Pyongyang also threatened revenge after blaming Seoul and Washington for a separate Internet shutdown that disrupted its own network last week. Seoul alleges six cyberattacks by North Korea on South Korean targets since 2009.
If the attack was in fact carried out by North Korea, it may be a warning to Seoul that Pyongyang is capable of breaching its computer networks with relative ease.
The US, meanwhile, thinks China will step in soon to get its client state back under control:
The United States is optimistic China will take strong action against North Koreaby increasing scrutiny of financial transactions with Pyongyang that could contravene fresh U.N.sanctions, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said he was confident Chinese banks and regulators would pay attention to the new resolution.
Stopping illicit money flows to North Korea is a key part of the sanctions imposed in response to Pyongyang’s February 12 nuclear test. China is North Korea’s sole diplomatically and its major trading partner, although it negotiated the latest sanctions with Washington and has said it wanted them implemented.
“We’ve heard nothing but the strong intention to implement the Security Council resolution, and we fully expect to work very cooperatively with the Chinese in the robust implementation of that resolution,” Cohen told reporters in Beijing.
Maybe China can explain what the Kim regime is thinking. They seem to want war pretty badly, and it won’t take much more before someone on the ground takes that seriously enough to create a flashpoint that will end badly for all sides, but especially North Korea.