By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service, who has been to North Korea
PYONGYANG , NORTH KOREA (ANS – May 5, 2017) –North Korea has accused US and South Korean agents of plotting to kill its Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.
According to the BBC, a North Korean referred to only as “Kim” was paid to carry out an attack with biochemical substances, the ministry of state security said.
The plot was foiled, it said, but gave no details on the fate of “Kim”. The CIA declined to comment and South Korea has issued no statement so far.
The North’s claim comes amid continued high tension on the Korean peninsula.
US President Donald Trump has promised to “solve” North Korea and stop it developing nuclear weapons.
However, Stephen Evans of BBC News in Seoul believes this is an unconvincing case. He said, “The statement should be treated with scepticism. The regime has a track record of false information. It would be surprising if American or South Korean intelligence agencies didn’t try to have agents in North Korea but the specific allegations about an assassination plot raise many questions.
“Why hasn’t a suspect been produced? Why does the KCNA statement cite poisoning at one moment and a bombing the next? How would anyone get access to Kim Jong-un, a man perpetually surrounded by squads of protectors and whose movements are secret?
“Journalists who go to Pyongyang have cell-phones taken off them whenever they go to events where he might be, presumably to prevent tracking – so how would an ordinary citizen get more access?
“Plots to kill Kim Jong-un may have been hatched but a bald statement by the media controlled by a vicious regime does not add up to convincing evidence.”
The BBC said in its story that the ministry of state security statement, carried by state news agency KCNA, said the CIA and South Korean intelligence services had “hatched a vicious plot to hurt the supreme leadership of the DPRK.”
It did not mention Kim Jong-un by name, but he is widely referred to as the supreme leader.
The ministry said a plot had been hatched to use “bomb terrorism” to target the supreme leadership at a military parade or at an event at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the mausoleum of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding leader.
It said “Kim” had been told that the best method was the use of “biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano poisonous substance” whose results would “appear after six or 12 months”.
KILLING KIM? HOW THE ‘PLOT’ UNFOLDED (BBC)
June 2014: A North Korean working at a timber firm in the Khabarovsk territory of far-eastern Russia is “corrupted and bribed” by CIA and South Korean intelligence agents. The man – “Kim” – is given cash and a “satellite transmitter-receiver” and returns to Pyongyang
January, May, August, September 2016: “Kim” is in satellite contact with South Korean agents on handling biochemical agents and on the possible sites of an assassination attempt
March and April 2017: “Kim” meets a South Korean agent in the city of Dandong in China and is given a new transmitter and more cash. Further communications take place in April. The last date that appears in the North Korean statement is “early May”, when “Kim” is supposed to receive “necessary equipment” via a “liaison centre” he has set up with his funding. No details are given on “Kim’s” apprehension or fate.
“Only the CIA can produce such substance”, it said, adding that South Korea had borne the funding.
The ministry alleged that the North Korean man had been “turned” by the CIA and the South Korean intelligence service while working in Russia in 2014.
The ministry refers to two payments to “Kim” of $20,000 and a further two of $100,000 for “bribery” and obtaining equipment. It refers to another of $50,000 but it is unclear if this is additional.
On his return to Pyongyang, it says, he was instructed to provide detailed information about a frequently used event ground and to assess possible methods of attack.
The ministry statement gave no details of how the alleged plan had been uncovered or about the fate of “Kim,” whom it described as “human scum”.
The ministry said the “intelligence and plot-breeding organizations of the US imperialists and the puppet clique,” referring to the South, would be swept away.
“Earlier this year, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was killed with the banned nerve agent VX at Kuala Lumpur international airport. South Korea and Malaysia say it was an assassination carried out by the North,” added the BBC.
‘MAJOR, MAJOR CONFLICT’
A war of words between the West and nuclear-armed North Korea has escalated in recent weeks, with Pyongyang threatening to carry out a sixth nuclear test.
Recently, North Korea conducted its second failed ballistic missile test in two weeks.
The US has sent a warship to the region and installed a controversial anti-missile defense system in South Korea.
President Trump has warned of “major, major conflict” with North Korea.
But he also said this week he would be willing to meet Kim Jong-un, in the right circumstances. The White House quickly clarified that conditions were “clearly not there right now” and said the North should “end its provocative behavior immediately.”
WORLD’S MOST OPPRESSIVE PLACE FOR CHRISTIANS
Open Doors says that once again, North Korea is ranked as the most oppressive place in the world for Christians, #1 on the World Watch List. In this totalitarian communist state, Christians are forced to hide their faith completely from government authorities, neighbors and often, even their own spouses and children. Due to ever-present surveillance, many pray with eyes open, and gathering for praise or fellowship is practically impossible.
Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandated for all citizens, and those who don’t comply (including Christians) are arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed. Entire Christian families are imprisoned in hard labor camps, where unknown numbers die each year from torture, beatings, overexertion and starvation. Those who attempt to flee to South Korea through China risk execution or life imprisonment, and those who stay behind often fare no better.
Through local partners, Open Doors is serving Christians in North Korea by providing them with emergency relief aid, including food, medicine and clothes, as well as Bibles, books and other discipleship materials. Open Doors partners in China also provide shelter and aid for Christians who have fled the country, as well as training for those who wish to return to North Korea for ministry.
I have personally been to North Korea to spend a week there reporting for the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. After that visit, I also went to South Korea where I met a group of North Korean Christians who had escaped the country, and were in training in the mountains near Seoul to go back into North Korea, despite the great dangers to themselves, as evangelists and church planters.
One of them told me, “I am willing to lay down my life for the sake of the Gospel. I believe that one day soon, the doors will open into North Korea, but they could then quickly shut again, and I would be trapped there. But still, I am not afraid as my people need to know the Good News of Jesus Christ, and that’s why I am ready to go when the Lord shows me that this is the time.”
Photo captions: 1) North Korea recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of late leader Kim Il-Sung. 2) An execution in North Korea. 3) Kim Jong-un looking at weapon in North Korea. 4) Kim Jong-un briefing the North Korea “press.” 5) Dan Wooding in Pyongyang, North Korea, with Dr. David Cho, a pastor who was one of a group he traveled with into the secretive country.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Besides running the ASSIST News Service, he has written some 45 books and hosts a weekly radio show and two TV programs in Southern California. Dan is one of the few Christian journalists to have ever reported from inside of North Korea.
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends that they can also receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to our ANS website and signing up there.