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Kim Jong-un. Photo: KNS / AFP / Getty Images

Two Chinese officials with ties to top North Korean government officials told Radio Free Asia that Kim Jong-un’s regime is running low on funds for its nuclear program, Fox News reports.

Why it matters: The North is getting more and more isolated, according to this report. Some experts say when Kim Jong-un is isolated, he comes to the negotiating table to try to get sanctions eased — so this could explain the North’s recent talks with South Korea. But it’s also anyone’s best guess as to what Kim Jong-un wants exactly at any given time.

Some clues as to what North Korea might be going through:

  • North Korean officials are said to be raiding homes of farmers for food, Fox News reported.
  • The military is reportedly giving soldiers time off to search for food, per Fox News.
  • One Chinese official told Radio Free Asia they heard worried talk about finances in the regime’s Office 39, which focuses on gathering shady funds through counterfeiting or drug production and brings in about a billion dollars per year.

Potential causes: Expensive missile and nuclear weapons tests, or a sanctions package that’s depriving the regime of precious trade to keep it up and running.

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.