President Trump apparently meant to state a different message when he sent his latest letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday. “You will be receiving a very nice letter from me,” the letter said, according to the translation posted by Bloomberg.
Kim’s government reported on Friday that the original letter intended to offer Kim help with the virus assault on North Korea. “In the previous letter from him to [Kim Jong-un], he requested that we have a joint study to further co-ordinate and co-ordinate measures for protecting our people and establishment of a peaceful environment,” said Ri Yong-ho, the director of the country’s department of external relations, in a televised press conference.
But if the words “countervailing hacking” are taken at face value, it will mark the first time that Pyongyang has acknowledged the fact that it has struggled to prevent cyberattacks against the country’s computers.
North Korea has been in the news over its efforts to crack down on people posting racy photos on social media, something which was referred to in the letter as part of a “cyber war” against the North. But, Rong-ho added, “something has happened in all the North’s counties in this historical and international cyber war,” and didn’t name anyone, presumably meaning the United States.
The timing of the letter comes just as state media were reported to be pressuring many North Koreans to make healthy decisions in order to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. “Living in conditions of poverty and catastrophe but with style, I vow, there is no room for carrying out unholy acts to undo our Fatherland,” the North Korean leader said, addressing younger citizens. He added, “Making love to your best friend who loves you, and one who wouldn’t mind infecting you with a disease would be hurting people without thinking.”
For its part, the Trump administration has not commented on the purported existence of the letter, the only correspondence between the two leaders since the joint first summit in Singapore in June.
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