South Korean lawmaker says North Korea stole secret documents with war plans
North Korean hackers may have stolen a large cache of classified military documents, including the latest South Korea-U.S. wartime operational plan, a South Korean ruling party lawmaker said Tuesday.
Rhee Cheol-hee, of South Korea's Democratic Party, said 235 GB of military documents were taken in September 2016 from the Defence Integrated Data Centre, citing information from unnamed defence officials, the South Korean news agency Yonhap News reported Tuesday.
The contents of about 80 per cent of the data have not yet been identified, Rhee said.
Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the cyberattacks and criticized Seoul for "fabricating" claims about online attacks.
Neither Rhee nor his office were immediately available for comment.
If confirmed, such a hack would be a major blow for South Korea at a time when its relations with North Korea are at a low point. The South has taken an increasingly aggressive stance toward the North's belligerence amid back-and-forth threats of war between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Among the classified plans allegedly stolen from the South were said to be blueprints for targeted attacks by Seoul and Washington to eliminate North Korean leader Kim if a crisis breaks out or appears imminent. Kim is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea.
In Washington, the Pentagon said it was aware of the media reports but would not comment on the potential breach.
"Although I will not comment on intelligence matters or specific incidents related to cyber intrusion, I can assure you that we are confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea," Pentagon spokesperson Col. Robert Manning told reporters.
U.S. conducts training exercise
Two U.S. B-1 bombers carried out a training exercise on Tuesday with Japanese and South Korean military aircraft in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan, the U.S. military said.
It was first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with Japanese and South Korean fighter aircraft at night, the U.S. military said in a statement.
Also on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump met with his top defence officials for a briefing and discussion on options to respond to any North Korean aggression or if necessary to prevent Pyongyang from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons, the White House said in a statement.
Trump was briefed by Secretary of Defence James Mattis and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford at a meeting of members of his national security team, the statement said.