On Saturday, North Korea had broadcast a coded message to its agents, notably using YouTube instead of radio waves, the Yonhap News Agency and other Southern and international outlets have reported. The message was read by a female announcer and contained phrases such as “No. 23 on Page 564, No. 19 on Page 479” addressed to “No. 719 expedition agents.”

It’s an example of the time-tested cryptography that both Pyongyang and Seoul used during the Cold War to communicate instructions to their agents across the border. A reference book is needed to decipher their meaning.

The Northern messages began to be re-sent a few years ago, after a lengthy silence. At the time, a conservative administration hostile toward Pyongyang was in power in Seoul. The messages were covered widely by local news, with Western tabloids relaying to their readers the “creepy” broadcasts presumably sent by Kim Jong-un to his spies. After the political attitude in the South shifted towards rapprochement under a new leadership, the attention paid to the spy signals dwindled accordingly.

Saturday’s message was deemed newsworthy because it was transmitted through YouTube rather than broadcast on the radio, marking Pyongyang’s apparent embrace of modern technology for espionage. It was viewed by thousands of people before being deleted.

However, it appears the reports may have overstated the link between the YouTube channel and the government in the North.

According to NK News, an authoritative Western outlet covering North Korean news, ’Pyongyang Broadcast Service – D.P.R. of Korea’, the channel used to convey the instructions, is a private operation run from Mexico. In fact, even the name is not correct, since the official North Korean government outlet is called ‘Pyongyang Broadcasting Service’.

The broadcast was apparently a genuine Northern message recorded from the radio, judging by the interference that could be heard in the background, tech expert Martyn Williams explained for NK News.

The YouTube channel in question has existed under different names since 2007. It may not be conveying fresh directives to North Korean spies, but there is plenty of other content from the North there, such as this rendition of a popular Soviet song, performed by singer Kim Kwang-suk.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Captain Tom made honorary member of England team on 100th birthday

(Reuters) – British World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised millions for the country’s National Health Service (NHS), was made an honorary member of the England cricket team as he celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday. Moore…

‘Naked concerns’: Doctors strip down to protest lack of protective equipment

A group of German doctors has stripped naked in a series of photos to show how vulnerable they feel without adequate protective equipment on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The group calls its protest Blanke Bedenken, which translates…

Germany in recession as economy shrinks 2.2% in 1st quarter

BERLIN — The German economy shrank by 2.2% in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period as shutdowns in the country and beyond started to bite, official data showed Friday. That means Europe’s biggest economy went into recession…

‘Shoot them dead’ – Philippine leader says won’t tolerate lockdown violators

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned violators of coronavirus lockdown measures they could be shot for causing trouble and said abuse of medical workers was a serious crime that would not be tolerated. In a televised address,…