The United States, South Korea, and Japan expressed grave concern about North Korea’s “malicious” cyber activities to support its weapons programmes.
This was stated in a joint statement issued on Friday.
North Korean hackers stole cryptocurrency funds, which were used to fund the sanctions-hit country’s weapons programmes, according to officials and experts in the United States and its allies.
According to a new report released on April 6 by the US Treasury Department, actors such as North Korea are using decentralised finance, a thriving segment of the crypto sector, to transfer and launder their illicit proceeds.
North Korea has denied any involvement in hacking or other cyberattacks.
In the midst of North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats, South Korea’s nuclear envoy met with his US and Japanese counterparts this week in Seoul and condemned the isolated country’s weapons tests.
According to the envoys’ joint statement, “we reiterate with concern that overseas DPRK IT workers continue to use forged identities and nationalities” to evade U.N. sanctions and raise funds for missile programmes.
They urged UN member states to follow Security Council resolutions to repatriate North Korean workers on their soil.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at an all-time high. Since March, US and South Korean forces have been conducting a series of annual springtime exercises.
Pyongyang, enraged by the military exercises, has increased its military activities in recent weeks. It demonstrated new, smaller nuclear warheads and launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting anywhere in the United States.
As the exercises and tests continue, harsh rhetoric has been exchanged. North Korea accused Washington and Seoul on Thursday of raising tensions to the point of nuclear war through military drills.
Japan announced on Friday a two-year extension of its trade embargo against North Korea, with humanitarian exceptions.