Crypto

Washington Expects North Korea’s Imminent Nuclear Test

On Friday, the United States warned that North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test since 2017 and issued a renewed call for dialogue despite the current diplomatic deadlock.

According to Washington’s findings, Pyongyang is “preparing the Pungeri test site and may be ready to conduct a test there as early as this month, which will be its seventh nuclear test,” the gatekeeper told reporters. diplomacy, Jalyna Porter.

“This analysis is consistent with recent public statements made by North Korea itself,” she added, assuring that the US government has shared it with its allies and will “continue” to “closely coordinate with them.”

The Kim Jong-un regime has stopped launching intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear tests since 2017. It has already partially broken that moratorium by launching an intercontinental missile in late March, and many observers expect it to also test nuclear weapons soon, as it did six times between 2006 and 2017.

His last nuclear test was also his most powerful: a hydrogen bomb with an estimated yield of 250 kilotons.

Satellite imagery showed signs of new activity in the tunnel at the Pungeri site. The latter, North Koreans say, was demolished in 2018 ahead of a historic summit between Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump that marked the beginning of a phase of dialogue that has been going on for a long time.

– Sanctioned Cryptocurrency Mixer –

Joe Biden, the Republican billionaire’s successor, has said he’s ready to reopen that dialogue to discuss the denuclearization of the reclusive country, but his outstretched hand remains empty for now.

On the contrary, since the beginning of the year, North Korea has been ramping up testing of weapons banned by UN Security Council resolutions.

“The United States remains committed to a diplomatic exchange” and calls on North Korea “for dialogue,” Anthony Blinken, the head of American diplomacy, confirmed on Friday.

So far, the Biden administration has rather turned its back on what it sees as “provocations.”

His response has remained relatively modest, mostly in the form of token sanctions, even though his spokesman on the North Korean case, Sung Kim, assured in mid-April that he was discussing with Seoul “how to respond” to a “possible nuclear test.” .

On Friday, the US Treasury broke new ground by “for the first time” imposing sanctions on a “cryptocurrency mixer,” a sophisticated service suspected of facilitating North Korea’s “illegal” financial activities.

This mixer, Blender.io, is accused of helping to launder some of the spoils of the “biggest cryptocurrency heist” in the world — the $620 million heist at the end of March, attributed by Washington to a group of hackers linked to Pyongyang. .

“In order to circumvent tough UN and US sanctions, North Korea has resorted to stealing funds from cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income from its illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

In mid-April, US authorities accused the group Lazarus and APT38, hackers “linked” to the reclusive regime, of stealing $620 million in Ethereum after the video game Axie Infinity was hacked in late March.

Axie Infinity is a blockchain game, a decentralized digital ledger that cannot be changed. This allows you to earn money in the form of NFTs, digital tokens.

According to the US Treasury Department, Blender was used to launder over $20.5 million of the $620 million stolen.

Blender, which is also the English name for a kitchen blender, is a service that facilitates the laundering of funds extorted by hackers by “obfuscating the waters as to their origin, destination and counterparties,” according to the Treasury Department.

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