A North Korean feint? Kim, second from right. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty

As North Korea haggles over when it will eliminate its nuclear weapons assets, it may be playing for what it can get in exchange while already pivoting to a very different, equally dangerous weapons regime — cyber arms.

What's going on: David Maxwell, a retired Army officer and an expert on North Korea, tells Axios that any key American adversary — China, Iran, Russia or North Korea — is likelier to use cyber than nuclear arms in any war with the U.S.

  • The U.S. Justice Department today announced that it has filed cyber-hacking charges against Park Jin Hyok, an agent for North Korea's military intelligence arm, Axios' Joe Uchill reports.
  • The charges involve the hacking of Sony Pictures in 2014.
  • Park is linked to two other major cyber attacks as well — the WannaCry virus that last year infected computers around the world and a 2016 attempt to steal $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank.

The big question: "What if they are giving up their nuclear weapons because they have greater capability in cyber?" Maxwell asks. "Are they shifting their strategy focus to cyber?"

"Nuclear weapons aren't of practical use," he says. "But cyber is valuable, practical and useable. You can steal money and take down energy infrastructure." With WannaCry and the Sony Pictures attacks, "North Korea is conducting reconnaissance. They are seeing what they can get away with."

In a statement today, South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had given his first timeline for denuclearization, saying he wanted to complete it during President Trump's first term, Reuters' Hyonhee Shin and Susan Heavey report.

Go deeper

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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