South Korea claims North hacked nuclear attack response plans

Aaron Brown
October 12, 2017

Tensions between the USA and North Korea have intensified in recent months as the Trump administration has struggled to rein in Kim Jong-un's expanding nuclear and ballistic weapons programme. North Korea's possession of secret war plans would require a major overhaul of how South Korea and its ally Washington would respond if there's another war on the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. bombers took off from the Andersen Air Force base in Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory that North Korea singled out as a possible target for a missile strike over the summer, as President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un engaged in bombastic rhetoric and brinkmanship.

"Although I will not comment on intelligence matters or specific incidents related to cyber intrusion, I can assure you that we are confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea", Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters.

The South Korean Defence Ministry's official stance is that they cannot confirm anything the lawmaker said in terms of the hacked content due to the sensitivity of the matter.

However, the South Korean defence ministry has refused to comment about this allegation.

It was part of a "regular deployment training" aimed at enhancing the capability of implementing the "extended deterrence" against the North, the JCS said.

The air-to-ground missile maneuvers near the South Korean coast were intentionally scheduled for North Korea's communist party's anniversary. Some military experts believe that power supply problems make it hard for North Korea to turn on its air defense radars for 24 hours a day and also that the systems might struggle to effectively track advanced warplanes such as B-1Bs, which have low radar-cross sections.

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The U.S. flew the two B-1B Lancer bombers over the peninsula along with South Korean F-15k fighter planes and additional fighters from Japan, which the U.S. military said was the first such nighttime maneuver conducted by the three countries together.

Reports of reconnaissance on United States utilities follow earlier reports alleging DPRK spies stole a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

"There is an urgent need for the military to change and update parts that were stolen by North Korea", Lee said.

Outside governments and global human rights organizations say Kim rules as a tyrant over a largely malnourished and abused population while enjoying a luxurious lifestyle backed up by a weapons program almost advanced enough to viably target the USA mainland with nuclear-tipped missiles.

North Korea expert, Lim Eul-chul, said: "It may sound insane to outsiders to fire missiles from a place he wants to develop economically, but that's how Kim runs his country". While early 80 percent of the documents had not yet been identified, they reportedly included contingency plans for South Korean special forces and information on military facilities and power plants, it said.

Seoul says North Korea has repeatedly staged cyberattacks on South Korean business and government websites. North Korea needs time and proof to believe that abandoning its nuclear programme will contribute to its own political and economic advantage.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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