Tag Archives: KCNA

North Korea vows ‘thousands-fold’ revenge on US over sanctions

North Korea has vowed to exact “thousands-fold” revenge against the US after the UN imposed new sanctions in response to the regime’s recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the regime said the sanctions were a “violent violation of our sovereignty” and part of a “heinous plot to isolate and stifle” the country.

On Saturday the UN security council unanimously backed new sanctions that could slash the regime’s $3bn in annual export revenue by a third. The measures target key export revenue earners such as coal, iron, lead and seafood – but not oil.

Continue reading North Korea vows ‘thousands-fold’ revenge on US over sanctions

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North Korea says hit by worst drought in 100 years

North Korea has been hit by what it describes as its worst drought in a century, which could worsen chronic food shortages in a country where the United Nations says almost a third of children under five are stunted because of poor nutrition.

The country suffered a devastating famine in the 1990s and has relied on international food aid, but support has fallen sharply in recent years, because of its curbs on humanitarian workers and reluctance to allow monitoring of food distribution.

The North’s KCNA news agency said late on Tuesday that paddies around the country, including the main rice farming regions of Hwanghae and Phyongan provinces, were drying up for lack of rain. Rice must be partly submerged in order to grow.

“The worst drought in 100 years continues in the DPRK, causing great damage to its agricultural field,” KCNA said, using the short form of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles ties with the North, did not have a comment on Wednesday about the report.

North Korea’s farm production periodically suffers from droughts and floods in the summer, although the state has learned to cut damage by updating farming methods and switching to crops other than rice in recent years.

Thomas Lehman, Denmark’s ambassador to both North and South Korea, told Reuters that on a visit to the North late last month he could “clearly see” attempts to deal with the drought in its fields.

“The lack of water has created a lot of damage to the so-called spring crop, and the rice planting is extremely difficult without sufficient water,” said Lehman, who has spoken to U.N. officials about the drought, and visited drought-hit areas.

North Korea has mounted a campaign encouraging the public to help out on farms, and is using mobile water pumps run on diesel and longer pipes to draw water into fields.

“Farm managers reported receiving training in dry rice planting techniques and other measures that they were trying to conserve water,” said Linda Lewis of the American Friends Service Committee, a group that runs farm projects in the North.

The U.N. resident coordinator for North Korea, Ghulam Isaczai, warned in a Reuters interview last month of a looming crisis due to last year’s drought, caused by the lowest rainfall in 30 years.

At the time, Isaczai said he thought the food situation would not be as bad as in previous major droughts, since communities were now more resilient and might have reserves.

In April, the United Nations called for $111 million to fund crucial humanitarian needs this year in North Korea, which it said remains drastically under-funded.

Funding for U.N. agencies in North Korea fell to less than $50 million in 2014, from $300 million in 2004.

North Korea relies heavily on hydroelectric power and suffers from chronic electricity shortages, which can be exacerbated by periods of no rain.

South Korea has also received sharply lower rainfall, particularly in the northern regions, which have got about half the rain of an average year, the national weather agency says.

In early June, Pyongyang’s propaganda officials produced two new posters and slogans to spur the fight on drought.

“Let’s mobilise the masses and fight with all our strength against the drought,” read one poster that showed a smiling farmer gesturing towards a field of workers with red flags and spades.

North Korea Rages At Obama After Its Internet Goes Down

kim jong un

In a fiery statement on Saturday, North Korea compared President Barack Obama to a “monkey” and accused the United States of being responsible for Internet outages it experienced in recent days.

“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” a spokesman for North Korea’s National Defense Commission said in the statement, according to Agence France-Presse.

The statement was published by North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA.

North Korea’s main internet sites experienced intermittent disruptions early in the week. US tech companies said the outages could have been caused by a number of factors including technological glitches or hacking. The outages came amid tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over the cyberattack on the movie studio Sony Pictures.

In the statement, the NDC spokesman criticized the internet outages as a “laughable” and cowardly attack.

“The United States, with its large physical size and oblivious to the shame of playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would, has begun disrupting the Internet operations of the main media outlets of our republic,” the North’s National Defense Commission said in a statement.

North Korea’s internet experience problems last weekend and a complete outage of nearly nine hours before links were largely restored on Tuesday. Only a small number of people in North Korea have internet access including government officials and the country’s elite.

US officials have said Washington was not involved in the outages.

According to AFP, North Korea warned the US could face “deadly” retaliation.

“If the US persists in American-style arrogant, high-handed and gangster-like arbitrary practices despite (North Korea’s) repeated warnings, the US should bear in mind that its failed political affairs will face inescapable deadly blows,” the statement said.

The NDC spokesman also reiterated North Korea’s repeated denials of American claims it was behind  the hack on Sony Pictures. They accused the US of blaming Pyongyang “without clear evidence” and demanded Washington present the proof behind its accusations.

“Obama had better thrust himself to cleaning up all the evil doings that the U.S. has committed out of its hostile policy against (North Korea) if he seeks peace on U.S. soil. Then all will be well,” the statement said.

The Sony hackers, who identified themselves as the “Guardians of Peace” released statements objecting to the portrayal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Sony movie “The Interview.” In addition to lampooning kimg Jong Un, the comedy includes a graphic depiction of him being assassinated.

Following the cyberattack, which included violent threats and the release of internal emails and leaked versions of unreleased films, the studio canceled the “The Interview’s” planned Dec. 25 release.

After criticism from President Barack Obama that it was caving into pressure from North Korea, Sony reversed its decision and decided on a limited release.

The movie took in more than $1 million in a Christmas Day release in 331 mostly independent theaters after large movie theater chains refused to screen the comedy following threats of violence from hackers.

North Korea threatens attack on White House and Pentagon over Sony hack

North Korea warns attack on White House and Pentagon over Sony leaks

North Korea has threatened to attack the White House, Pentagon and the entire US mainland as the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang intensifies.

Following President Barack Obama’s direct accusation of North Korea’s involvement in the Sony Pictures hacking scandal, Pyongyang’s powerful National Defence Commission yet again denied any hand in the attack.

In a dispatch carried by the regime-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the Commission said: “The DPRK [North Korea’s official name] has already launched the toughest counteraction. Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the US imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans,”

“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism.”

The North Korean statement added that Obama is “recklessly” spreading rumours that Pyongyang is behind the attack on Sony Pictures.

Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism” – North Korea on US

Even though such belligerence from the reticent nation is frequently used to drum up tensions regularly, the long statement from the Commission also highlights the North’s fragile nature when it comes to mocking its leaders.

Sony Pictures has been forced to suspend the release of the movie The Interview, which revolves around the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Pyongyang’s latest statement has come at a time when Obama is considering whether to place the country back on the terror list.

“We’re going to review those through a process that’s already in place. And we don’t make those judgments just based on the news of the day. We look systematically at what’s been done and based on those facts, we’ll make those determinations in the future,” Obama said in an interview with CNN adding the cyber attack on Sony Pictures does not tantamount to an act of war.

Obama: ‘We will respond’ to North Korea cyber attack

The Interview poster being removed

President Barack Obama has vowed a US response after North Korea’s alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

The US leader also said the studio “made a mistake” in refusing to release a controversial satire depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

On Friday US authorities linked North Korea to the hack, which saw sensitive studio information publicly released.

Sony withdrew the film The Interview following continued threats.

“We will respond,” Mr Obama told reporters on Friday, declining to offer specifics. “We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose.”

He added: “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States.”

Sony HQ in California

The US leader said it was important to protect both public and private cyber-systems from attack which could have significant economic and social impacts.

Mr Obama also noted he believed Sony Pictures was mistaken in failing to go ahead with the release.

“Americans cannot change their patterns of behaviour due to the possibility of a terrorist attack,” he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”

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Analysis: Dave Lee, BBC technology reporter

The FBI say it spotted distinct similarities between the type of malware used in the Sony Pictures attack and code used to attack South Korea last year.

Suspicious, yes, but well short of being a smoking gun. When any malware is discovered, it is shared around many experts for analysis – any attacker could simply reversion the code for their own use, like a cover version of a song.

But there’s another, better clue: IP addresses – locations, essentially – known to be part of “North Korean infrastructure” formed part of the malware too.

This suggests the attack may have been controlled by people who have acted for North Korea in the past.

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Earlier on Friday, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation officially tied North Korea to the cyberattack, linking the country to malware used in the incident.

Sony cancelled the holiday release of the comedy film after national theatre chains refused to show it.

Hackers had earlier issued a warning referring to the 11 September 2001 terror attacks, saying “the world will be full of fear” if the film was screened.

Poster for The InterviewThe duo play journalists enlisted to kill Kim Jong-un

The movie features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists who are granted an audience with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him. The film was due to have been released over Christmas.

The film’s cancelled release drew criticism in Hollywood, with some calling it an attack on the freedom of expression.

Actor George Clooney told the trade website Deadline on Thursday the film should be released online, saying Hollywood shouldn’t be threatened by North Korea.

In November, a cyber-attack crippled computers at Sony and led to upcoming films and workers’ personal data being leaked online.

The hackers also released salary details and social security numbers for thousands of Sony employees – including celebrities.

Kim Jong-Un with North Korean soldiers' familiesNorth Korea says the film hurts the “dignity of its supreme leadership”

North Korea earlier this month denied involvement in the hack – but praised the attack itself as a “righteous deed”.

An article on North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency, quoting the country’s top military body, said suggestions that Pyongyang was behind the attack were “wild rumour”.

However, it warned the US that “there are a great number of supporters and sympathisers” of North Korea “all over the world” who may have carried out the attack.

In the article, Sony Pictures was accused of “abetting a terrorist act” and “hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership” of North Korea by producing the movie.

Kim Jong Un reappears with cane, state media shows (Updated with photo)

Kim Jong Un reappears after 40 day absence, pictures show

Kim Jong Un appeared for the first time in 40 days using a cane, photos published by North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed on Tuesday.

Kim had been missing from public view since attending a concert in Pyongyang on September 3, with his absence sparking widespread rumors about his health and the stability of the leadership.

Rumors of a foot or ankle injury, which had grown particularly prominent in recent days, appear to be proven correct by the pictures published on Tuesday.

An article earlier published by KCNA at about 4 a.m. Korean Standard Time (KST) was first to provide details about Kim’s reappearance: a field guidance visit to a newly built residential district for scientists.

The report did not contain references to his health, though previous state media reports had mentioned his “discomfort” – or time out of public view.

kjuwalkingstick

“Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, gave field guidance to the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District,” the article said.

The report said Kim was accompanied by high-ranking officials Hwang Pyong So, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Ryong Hae, Han Kwang Sang and Kim Jong Gwan. Hwang Pyong So and Choe Ryong Hae were part of a high-level delegation which conducted a surprise visit to Incheon on October 4 to attend the closing ceremony of the Asian Games.

“It (the appearance) is possibly a response to the international media attention that his public absence attracted, particularly during the last two weeks,” Michael Madden, author of the NK Leadership blog toldNK News on Tuesday.

“It’s quite interesting that his first appearance was to an apartment complex where some of the scientists involved in the long-range rocket program will soon reside,” Madden added.

Madden also commented on the presence of the cane in the images, saying that state media had previously covered Kim Jong Il’s field guidance trips when he was physically unfit.

“His father, Kim Jong Il, set the precedent both for long public absences and telecasting physical infirmity,” Madden explained.

“Kim Jong Il had numerous, lengthier absences away from DPRK public life, and during the last few years he was routinely photographed and filmed riding in an electric cart and having to sit down for long spells during his on-site visits.

A small cart can similarly be seen in the background of one of the images published in the Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday.

The KCNA report also said Kim appeared at a second location – the “newly built Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences.”

kjuwalkingstick2

“Our scientists are patriots who are devoting all their lives to building a rich and powerful nation, convinced that though there is no frontier in science, they have a socialist motherland and are under the care of the mother party,” the KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

“There is nothing to spare for them. It is necessary to project and treat scientists preferentially and always take care of them.”

The article also said that Kim then took part in a photo session with scientists in front of statues of his father and grandfather, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung.

North Korea News Site Purges 95% of Digital Archive

1984-orwell
Judging by the Korean Central News Agency’s website, almost no news occurred prior to Oct. 1, 2013.
The North Korean state-run news organization has deleted 95% of its digital archive, including all but seven of its articles that predate Oct. 1. The purge comes just days after KCNA announced the execution of Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s uncle, believed to be the second-most powerful man in the country.

SEE ALSO: First North Korea Instagram Videos Give Eerie Glimpse at Mysterious Land

More than 35,000 articles from September and earlier have suddenly gone missing, according to NK News, a privately-owned site based in Washington, D.C.

A screenshot of the site capture by the Internet Archive shows more than 20,000 articles listed in March — 2,006 pages with 10 article listings per page. Only 1,884 articles remained on Monday morning.

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The purge is by no means the first Orwellian move by KCNA. The organization edited and deleted hundreds of articles referencing Jang around the time of his execution, NK News reported on Friday.

In attempt to justify Jang’s execution, KCNA published an article, which has since been deleted, referring to the leader as “despicable human scum” and “worse than a dog.” Despite North Korean government’s vitriol towards Jang, the ill will apparently didn’t extend to Kim Kyong-hui, Jang’s wife (Kim Jong Un’s aunt). She appeared on a KCNA list of leaders this weekend, the New York Times reported.

last-search-results

The news purge appears to extend beyond the digital sphere. Frank Feinstein, who runs the website KNCA Watch, told NK News that North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmunalso deleted about 20,000 articles from its archive.

“This is a a calculated thing they’ve done,” Feinstein said. “Across all sites, it means the order most likely came from above each individual agency.”

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