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South Korea Stops Identifying North Korea as an Enemy

In South Korea’s most recent Defense Ministry white paper, the ministry dropped referring to North Korea as its “enemy.”  While the paper does still make reference to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction being a threat to “peace and security on the Korean Peninsula,” choosing to not refer to North Korea as an enemy demonstrates the improved ties between the two nations.  South Korea also no longer describes the North’s cyber-attacks as the main threat to its security as it had when the paper was last released in 2016.  This is not to say that cyber-attacks from North Korea are not still a threat to the South and the rest of the world, just that the South Korean Defense Ministry no longer views it as the largest threat to South Korea. This change was likely done in part as a show of good faith with the work that both nations have been doing to try and improve relations.

Analyst Notes

This by no means should give anyone any illusions that the threat from North Korean hackers is diminishing. While the threat to South Korea may be decreasing as long as peace talks continue, North Korea remains a real threat to others.