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Kim Yong Chol: What I Told Trump

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As the world knows, last Friday I met with U.S. President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. As the official envoy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), sent by our President, Kim Jong Un, my task was to inform President Trump of all the facts pertinent to the impending summit meeting of the two leaders.

President Trump was well aware of the DPRK’s nuclear and missile capabilities; indeed, without our having perfected these in 2017-2018, the U.S. would not have agreed to a summit meeting in the first place. It was only because we joined—or, I should say, forced our way into–the Nuclear Club that America was forced to respect our validity and power, after 70 years of trying to snuff us out.

However, awareness of our capability to bomb American cities is not the fundamental reason why it is in the U.S.’s interests to reach a deal with President Kim. Nuclear war between the two powers is unthinkable, as President Trump well knows, and what is unthinkable is also unusable. What is not unthinkable—and this is what I told President Trump—is that the DPRK now has achieved global superiority in another aspect of conflict: cyberwarfare.

Indeed, while the rest of the world was watching our developments in the hydrogen bomb and intercontinental ballistic missile spheres, we in the DPRK were simultaneously developing the world’s greatest, most powerful cadre of computer hackers. President Kim, and his father before him, the late President Kim Jong-il, understood the importance of assembling a team of computer saboteurs such as only science-fiction writers ever imagined; and this is what we have done.

For proof of this, I pointed out to President Trump our massively successful cyberattack against SONY Pictures, in 2014, an attack, by the way, that was fully justified by SONY’s release of a movie, The Interview, that was an insult against President Kim Jong Un. In that attack, our hackers virtually crippled the SONY company and brought it to its knees, leaving it without any working computers, or email, or even the ability to leave voicemails. It was only after SONY agreed to pull The Interview from distribution that our hackers released their grip and set them free. We thus achieved, not only tactical victory on that score, but the enormous strategic victory of having warned the U.S. government of our capabilities, which are practically infinite.

This is what I told President Trump: that, if pushed, we in the DPRK can and will go well beyond what we did to SONY and attack the American power grid itself. It is relatively easy to compromise power utilities—for instance, placing a pornographic image on a home page. It is much more difficult to penetrate circuit breakers, generators and transformers. Yet this is precisely what our genius hackers have succeeded in accomplishing. We can easily gain operational access to the systems of gigantic American utility companies, such as PG&E, Consolidated Edison and Duke—including their nuclear power plants—to launch a full-scale grid attack on the U.S.

Our first step, I informed President Trump, would be to make a few isolated, local strikes, shutting power in places, such as Los Angeles or Denver, that would inconvenience millions of people, yet not pose a strategic security threat to America. This would be a warning. If our conditions were not then met, I told President Trump, the DPRK could continue to escalate our cyberattack, until—I assured him—we could shut off 90% of all the power in the U.S., plunging the country into darkness and anarchy; and we could keep the power turned off as long as we wanted, even in the event of American retaliation against us in the form of a nuclear attack.

It is not likely you will hear about this in the American media, because President Trump is determined to get all the credit for initiating the June 12 summit (he hopes to win a Nobel Peace Prize). Were it to be known that, far from initiating the summit, President Trump was instead playing into our hands and yielding to our threat, his reputation would be in tatters, even among his own followers. The meme would be “Trump, fearful of a North Korean strike against U.S. power grid, yields to Kim Jong Un, conceding to all his demands.”

President Trump indeed was cognizant of all I explained to him, and he readily agreed to all our conditions, including full diplomatic recognition, the dropping of sanctions, the expansion of trade between our two countries, and—secretly–our keeping an operational number of hydrogen bombs and ICBMs. All he asked of the DPRK in turn was for us to claim to have given up our nuclear capability (untrue; we never will), and secondly, that we do not disclose the full extent of our electrical grid hacking power, or the threat I had made to him. Both of these, we are pleased to do, for, as our Glorious Founder, Kim Il-sung, used to say, “The victor in war is not always he who appears to win.” The DPRK has actually won this round of the ongoing war between our two countries; let the pathetic President Donald Trump get the public credit, which his fragile Western ego craves, even as we walk away with all the cards.

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