Fletcher in the News

Prof. Lee Places the Cyber Attacks Against South Korea in Context

Minnesota Public Radio

Sung-Yoon Lee on South Korea Cyberattacks

Tensions remain high after cyber attack on South Korea

North Korea is still suspected in a coordinated cyber attack this week that paralyzed tens of thousands of computers at six South Korean banks and media companies.

North Korea has threatened Seoul and Washington in recent days over U.N. sanctions imposed for its Feb. 12 nuclear test, and over U.S.-South Korean military drills. It also threatened revenge after blaming Seoul and Washington for an Internet shutdown that disrupted its own network last week.

North Korea "will never remain a passive onlooker to the enemies' cyber attacks," state media said last week in a commentary. "The U.S. and its allies should be held wholly accountable for the ensuing consequences."

We talk about what the latest news from North Korea means for the United States and the rest of the world.

"Much of this is political theater because they have not proven the capability to actually reach the United States," said David Kang, professor of international relations, in an interview with CBS Los Angeles. "Both sides are ratcheting up the rhetoric. My sense is there is a fairly typical cycle of intense rhetoric, and then a period when both sides just pause; then, as long as both sides continue to pause, they begin to dial [the rhetoric] down a bit."

Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor in Korean studies, said the North Korean regime is not suicidal.

"They are very calculating, and they are conducting a form of psychological warfare against South Korea and against the United States, putting pressure on the new government in Seoul, especially, to resolve the situation, to return to negotiations," Lee said on Talk of the Nation. "And that means with bigger blandishments, concessions in tow."

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