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Pyongyang ‘sends spy messages via YouTube for first time’, South Korea’s media rushes to report – however there’s a caveat

Pyongyang ‘sends spy messages through YouTube for first time’, South Korea’s media rushes to report – but there’s a caveat


North Korea has for the primary time used a YouTube channel to ship coded messages to its spies throughout the border, South Korean media has reported, apparently falling for a hoax that had nothing to do with Pyongyang.

On Saturday, North Korea had broadcast a coded message to its brokers, notably utilizing YouTube as an alternative of radio waves, the Yonhap Information Company and different Southern and worldwide shops have reported. The message was learn by a feminine announcer and contained phrases resembling “No. 23 on Web page 564, No. 19 on Web page 479” addressed to “No. 719 expedition brokers.”

It’s an instance of the time-tested cryptography that each Pyongyang and Seoul used in the course of the Chilly Struggle to speak directions to their brokers throughout the border. A reference e book is required to decipher their which means.

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The Northern messages started to be re-sent a couple of years in the past, after a prolonged silence. On the time, a conservative administration hostile towards Pyongyang was in energy in Seoul. The messages have been coated broadly by native information, with Western tabloids relaying to their readers the “creepy” broadcasts presumably despatched by Kim Jong-un to his spies. After the political perspective within the South shifted in the direction of rapprochement below a brand new management, the eye paid to the spy indicators dwindled accordingly.

Saturday’s message was deemed newsworthy as a result of it was transmitted via YouTube relatively than broadcast on the radio, marking Pyongyang’s obvious embrace of recent expertise for espionage. It was considered by hundreds of individuals earlier than being deleted.

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Nonetheless, it seems the reviews could have overstated the hyperlink between the YouTube channel and the federal government within the North.

Based on NK Information, an authoritative Western outlet overlaying North Korean information, ’Pyongyang Broadcast Service – D.P.R. of Korea’, the channel used to convey the directions, is a non-public operation run from Mexico. In actual fact, even the identify shouldn’t be appropriate, because the official North Korean authorities outlet is known as ‘Pyongyang Broadcasting Service’.

The printed was apparently a real Northern message recorded from the radio, judging by the interference that could possibly be heard within the background, tech knowledgeable Martyn Williams defined for NK Information.

The YouTube channel in query has existed below completely different names since 2007. It will not be conveying contemporary directives to North Korean spies, however there may be loads of different content material from the North there, resembling this rendition of a well-liked Soviet track, carried out by singer Kim Kwang-suk.

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