TIME

NO. 5 | THE THREAT KIM JONG UN

NORTH KOREA’S YOUNG DICTATOR TAKES ON THE WORLD

FOR A LONG TIME, FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE services knew very little about the weird world of North Korea. Occasionally, their seismic monitors would pick up signs of rudimentary nuclear tests deep in the mountains north of the capital, Pyongyang. Or military satellites would detect the launch of missiles, short- and medium-range, many of which either failed spectacularly or hurtled harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean. But for the most part, the outside world was suffering from what Donald Gregg, a former U.S. intelligence officer and diplomat in South Korea, calls “the longest-running failure in the history of American espionage.”

In 2017, we learned what we’d been missing. Over the course of the year, Kim Jong

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