Recent use includes the assassination with VX of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017 and the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former Russian double agent, and his daughter with a Novichok nerve agent in March in England.
When tales of young couples being snatched off beaches by North Korean agents first began to circulate around Japan in the late 1970s, they were dismissed by most Japanese as conspiracy theory paranoia. But as years went by, evidence mounted that North Korea had in fact engaged in a systematic program of abductions to obtain instructors in Japanese language and culture for its spies. North Korea long denied such claims, but in 2002, when then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made his historic visit to Pyongyang, then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il took Japan by surprise by admitting 13 Japanese had been abducted. Kim apologized, blaming rogue special forces "on a reckless quest for glory." Among the surprised was the family of Megumi Yokota, a schoolgirl snatched while walking home from a badminton lesson in Niigata, on the Sea of Japan coast, in November 1977.
In the long view of history, North Korea getting a nuclear-tipped intercontinental missile in 2017 is the rough equivalent of an army showing up for World War II riding horses and shooting muskets. Nukes are so last century. War is changing, driven by cyberweapons, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. Weapons of mass destruction are dumb, soon to be whipped by smart weapons of pinpoint disruption--which nations can use without risking annihilation of the human race. If the U.S. is innovative and forward-thinking, it can develop technology that ensures no ill-behaving government could ever get a nuke off the ground.
For many Americans, the threat of a nuclear missile strike from North Korea feels very real at the moment. Much more real than being attacked by an intelligent robot, say. But according to Elon Musk, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) poses a much greater threat to humanity than Kim Jong-un's belligerent regime in Pyongyang. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, speaks during the International Space Station Research and Development Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on July 19. The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive has long warned of the dangers of AI and issued his latest opinion after a bot from OpenAI defeated some of the world's best players in in a professional gaming competition.
Elon Musk says artificial intelligence poses more of a "risk" than a potential nuclear conflict between the US and North Korea. The CEO of Tesla issued the warning after an AI built by OpenAI, a company founded by Mr Musk, defeated the world's best Dota 2 players after just two weeks of training. "If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea," he tweeted shortly after the bot's victory, along with a picture of a poster bearing the slogan: "In the end, the machines will win". The poster, incidentally, is actually about gambling.
Every time North Korea launches a missile, experts pore over photographs and videos to learn more about the country's weapons capabilities. It's a form of kremlinology, one where something so seemingly trivial as Kim Jong-un's coat carries significant meaning. But you don't have to be an analyst at the CIA or the MI6 or any other three-letter agency to do this. Using a video of Tuesday's launch of what experts said is an ICBM capable of reaching Alaska, you can figure out the missile's acceleration. Let me show you how.
The slow-moving, unidentified object flying over South Korea's border on Tuesday afternoon caused so much concern that soldiers issued loudspeaker warnings and ultimately fired more than 90 machine gun rounds in the air. What first seemed like a provocative North Korean military incursion -- perhaps a drone flight over the two countries' highly secured border -- turned out to be much more innocuous, the South Korean military said Wednesday. After studying radar evidence and thermal imagery, those military officials now believe the incident was sparked by a group of large North Korean balloons -- likely an effort to drop propaganda leaflets on the rogue state's ideological adversaries in the South. Though less serious than first reported, the incident underscores the heightened tensions along the border, and the region generally. That's because of the North's continued advancement as a nuclear state and its increasing technical prowess in developing missiles that can deliver warheads.
In order to counter the growing nuclear threat from North Korea in the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. is expected to deploy an unmanned aircraft system to South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, citing a Seoul military official. The attack drone will be deployed to strengthen strike capabilities against ground targets in the North, the official told the South Korean news agency. The Gray Eagle aircraft will be deployed to a U.S. military base in the southwestern town of Gunsan -- about 111 miles south of Seoul, the report said. However, it is still unclear when the system will be installed. The Gray Eagle is capable of striking military facilities in the north of the Military Demarcation Line separating the two Koreas, the official told Yonhap.
Searching for info on Kim Jong Un in China just became more difficult. Websites have officially blocked searches using the term "Fatty Kim The Third," a disparaging but popular term for the North Korean dictator, according to Reuters. For some reason, North Korean officials found the term offensive. They beefed about their fearless leader being called "fat" in a meeting with Chinese counterparts, according to the New York Post. They were afraid how Kim might react if he found out about the irreverent web searches, according to the Associated Press.