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Tags: north korea | south korea | united states

'Info-Warfare' Effort Aimed at Improving View of US, South Korea by North Koreans

North Korea and South Korea on a map (Norman Chan/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 16 January 2023 12:15 PM EST

The United States is reportedly sinking $50 million into a 5-year "info-warfare" effort to get news into North Korea aiming to improve the way its populace views America and South Korea.

As part of the larger defense spending package, President Joe Biden signed the Otto Warmbier Countering North Korean Censorship and Surveillance Act into law Dec. 23 to counter Pyongyang's censorship and surveillance of its citizens.

The law was named for the U.S. student imprisoned for stealing a poster in North Korea in 2016, and returned to his Ohio family in a vegetative state, dying six days later.

Under the act, funds will be funneled to the US Agency for Global Media.

"It is interesting to me as the US now seems to be more willing to operate in the 'gray zone' that other countries have been exploiting for some time now, with info-warfare now just one of the coercive measures being brought to bear while still staying under the thresholds that would trigger a conventional conflict," Dan Pinkston, a professor of international relations at the Seoul campus of Troy University, told DW.

According to DW, the U.S. program will focus on additional radio programming into the North as well as the development of "internet freedom tools," which are designed to help users circumvent limitations placed on free access to the digital world by the North Korean government, the news outlet reported.

"Radio should be relatively easy but internet access will be more of a challenge," Pinkston told DW, adding the "more sophisticated approaches" may not be noticed by Pyongyang at first, but "could quite quickly have an insidious effect on its own propaganda."

"Ideally, a successful 'attack' using information will be overlooked for some time and therefore be more subtle and have the longer-term aim of destabilizing and making the people of North Korea ask more questions," Pinkston told DW.

Eujin Kim, who fled with her mother and sister from North Hamgyong Province more than 20 years ago, told DW the effort will be dangerous.

"Twenty years ago, very little information about the outside world got into North Korea, but now many people there have seen news or television shows or films from abroad," Kim, a member of Freedom Speakers International, an organization that helps North Korean refugees learn English, told the news outlet.

"But in the last year or so, it is clear that the government is trying very hard to control the information that is getting into the country," she added. "The regime is very worried about that because it threatens them and only a few days ago, I heard that a teenage boy had been executed for watching a South Korean movie."

Meanwhile the North Korean government this month is expected to pass the Pyongyang Cultural Language Protection Act — banning citizens from using foreign terms when they speak or write, DW reported.

It will also outlaw foreign fashion and hairstyles and increase punishments for accessing overseas media.

"It is getting harder all the time," Kim told DW. "People have their public faces and their private thoughts, but it is more and more dangerous to share those thoughts."

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The United States is reportedly sinking $50 million into a 5-year "info-warfare" effort to get news into North Korea aiming to improve the way its populace views America and South Korea.
north korea, south korea, united states
Monday, 16 January 2023 12:15 PM
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