U.S. and North Korean officials disagreed with each other on whether denuclearization talks broke down on Saturday, Bloomberg reports.
The big picture: These talks were a hopeful precursor to another summit with Trump and Kim Jong-un, after February's meeting in Hanoi left the leaders empty-handed and back to square one at the negotiating table. This week, North Korea fired at least 1 suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile for the first time since 2016.
North Korea on Wednesday fired at least 1 suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile, Yonhap news agency reports, citing the South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S. officials later confirmed the missile launch.
Why it matters: The detected launch near the city of Wonsan on the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula at 7:11am Wednesday local time came hours after North Korea said Pyongyang and Washington would restart working-level denuclearization negotiations Saturday, per the Wall Street Journal, which reports the State Department confirmed the meetings.
The Treasury Department added the Lazarus Group — a prolific hacking organization believed by intelligence agencies and researchers to be sponsored and directed by the North Korean government — to its sanctions list on Friday.
The big picture: Lazarus is the group widely believed to have hacked Sony Pictures in response to the movie "The Interview." The group is also tied to other destructive attacks, including the WannaCry ransomware, and to digital bank heists including an $81 million theft from the central bank of Bangladesh.
North Korea-linked hackers have expanded their campaign to spy on experts researching nuclear deterrence, North Korea’s nuclear submarine program and North Korean economic sanctions, according to research from Prevailion.
The big picture: Countries often use espionage to prepare for upcoming actions like new sanctions, improve their bargaining position by better understanding their adversary's goals, or to see what other people know. This could be an example of any of those.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff say North Korea has fired 2 unidentified projectiles into the Sea of Japan, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reports.
Why it matters: The launch came hours after Pyongyang offered to resume nuclear talks with the U.S. This is the 10th such launch since May, in what appears to be yet another demonstration of North Korea expanding its weapons arsenal apparently with the intention of increasing leverage ahead of possible negotiations with the U.S.
U.S. Cyber Command released samples of North Korea's government-funded malware to researchers during the early hours of North Korea's Day of the Foundation of the Republic — a move seemingly timed to unnerve the hermit nation during a national holiday.
The big picture: Cyber Command periodically releases malware to the research community to bolster private sector defenses against foreign threats. But while previous releases received praise from the researchers for providing new details about threat groups, the North Korean samples that were atypically released on a Sunday don't immediately appear to be as fruitful.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a "newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher," the country's state-run KCNA news agency reports.
Why it matters: This appears to be yet another demonstration of North Korea expanding its weapons arsenal apparently with the intention of increasing leverage ahead of the possible resumption of negotiations with the U.S. to denuclearize, as AP points out.
North Korea on Thursday called the recent U.S. cruise missile test and military plans including the deployment of F-35 jets around the Korean peninsula "dangerous," warning the action "would trigger a new cold war."
Why it matters: Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have continued to stall, despite President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreeing at a June 30 meeting to restart the negotiations. The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense. North Korea has conducted 6 weapons tests since June 25.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Wednesday the country's latest launch of tactical guided missiles was designed to "send an adequate warning" to the U.S. and South Korea over this week's joint military drills, state media reports.
Why it matters: The launch of the newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles on Tuesday was the 4th such exercise in less than 2 weeks. It comes as denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea stall, Reuters notes.
North Korea has fired 2 "unidentified projectiles" into the East Sea for the 4th time in less than 2 weeks, according to the South Korean military.
The big picture: President Trump said last week that the short-range missile tests North Korea has been conducting do not violate the terms of his agreement with Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year, but he nonetheless urged Kim to "do the right thing." A spokesperson for North Korea's foreign ministry on Monday protested joint military drills by the U.S. and South Korea, warning that the country is still committed to dialogue but could be forced to take a “new road,” per North Korean state media.