North Korea defends Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro

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Oct. 28 (UPI) — North Korea state media delivered a veiled criticism of the United States in an article on the “situation in Venezuela,” days after the United States threatened to destroy any Iranian missiles shipped to the Latin American country.

Pyongyang’s state-run paper Minju Choson said Wednesday the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is legitimate, but “anti-government forces” were acting as if Maduro was a “thorn in their eyes.”

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“The Venezuelan government and the people are striving to protect the stability and sovereignty of the country by destroying the challenges and countermeasures of the hostile forces,” Minju Choson stated.

“The Venezuelan president also appealed to all countries that advocate peace to stand up to the sanctions of hostile forces.”

North Korea’s criticism of anti-Maduro policies come a week after Bloomberg and other news services reported Richard Grenell, a former acting U.S. director of National Intelligence and ambassador to Germany, met with a Maduro representative to negotiate a “peaceful exit.” The talks were not successful, reports say.

Pyongyang’s media did not mention the United States, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously said Maduro has oppressed Venezuelans for years. The Trump administration also recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the leader of Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he has a “good relationship” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but U.S. government agencies remain wary of North Korea’s strategy of hybrid warfare.

On Tuesday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI and the U.S. Cyber Command Cyber National Mission Force issued an alert against Kimsuky, the North Korean hacking group that has previously targeted South Korean entities, including nuclear operators and think tanks.

Kimsuky has begun to send bogus emails posing as South Korean reporters requesting Skype interviews.

“Kimsuky likely obtained the credentials from the victims via spear phishing and credential harvesting scripts,” the report read.