N.Korean Agents Badmouth S.Korea in Chinese Cyberspace

North Korean agents based in China are spreading negative propaganda about South Korea in cyberspace, intelligence forces here believe.

The Chosun Ilbo obtained an intelligence report saying that the North Korean agents post malicious comments on material related to South Korea on Chinese websites or on China's Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo.

According to the report, the propaganda include accusations that South Korean maritime police use "lethal" rubber bullets against Chinese fishermen caught illegally fishing in South Korean waters or calls for "traitors" in South Korea to be destroyed.

Tracking one suspected North Korean agent who posted malicious comments about South Korea on the Internet, the report found that 73 percent of his or her 174 comments praised North Korea and the remaining 27 percent criticized South Korea.

Suspected North Korean agents also claimed on Weibo, which boasts 530 million users, claiming that South Korea is a U.S. colony.

A lot of these commenters seem to cross-recommend each others' posts to boost their click ratings, making it more likely that they are paid-up North Korean fifth columnists.

They tend to pose as Chinese citizens but post comments on Chinese websites dedicated to praising North Korea or its leader Kim Jong-un, the report said.

Intelligence officials here said agents working for North Korea's United Front Department are based in in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, from where they posted around 14,000 comments praising North Korea on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube last year.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 27, 2013 12:35 KST