S.Korea Sanctions 8 N.Koreans Over Illicit Weapons, Cyber Activities

    S.Korea Sanctions 8 N.Koreans Over Illicit Weapons, Cyber Activities
    Photo: Pool/Getty Images News [via Getty Images]

    The Facts

    • Following North Korea's test of a solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-class Hwasong-18 last week, South Korea's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday it had sanctioned eight North Korean nationals in connection with alleged illegal weapons and cyber activities.

    • The sanctioned individuals include the head of Pyongyang's Reconnaissance General Bureau, Ri Chang Ho, who Seoul claims worked with hackers to obtain money to fund missile programs. He's in charge of the agency that allegedly oversees the North Korean hacking groups Kimsuky, Lazarus, and Andariel, which have previously been sanctioned by South Korea.


    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    North Korea wouldn't be one of the most sanctioned countries on Earth if its leaders simply stopped dealing in illegal weapons trades. As Kim Jong Un's regime continues to illegally provoke the world through its obsession with launching nukes, its government officials, in turn, have resorted to other illegal means to gain the resources necessary for such missiles. Sanctions would be lifted and the world would be safer if the North abided by international law.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The West doesn't sanction North Korea because it violates international rules but because the North, in its pursuit of military prowess, won't bend to the demands of America's rules. If Pyongyang gets scolded for launching spy satellites and missiles, why don't South Korea or the US face retribution for developing the same technologies and aiming them at the North? This is about who gets to be in charge, not who has weapons.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 15% chance that there will be a full-scale war between North Korea and South Korea by 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

    PRO

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