Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

North Korea claims CIA plot to assassinate Kim

It accused the CIA and South Korean intelligence of targeting the dignity of the country's supreme leadership.

In an extraordinary 1,800-word report Friday, which offered no evidence other than account laced with fantastical language, North Korean state news agency KCNA said a "hideous terrorist group" conspired with the CIA and South Korea's Intelligence Service (IS) to mount the attack.

The CIA and Seoul's Intelligence Services have "hatched a vicious plot" involving unspecified "biochemical substances" to assassinate the hermit state's young leader during public ceremonial events in Pyongyang, the Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

North Korea has a history of accusing the United States and South Korea of planning preemptive military attacks and to target its leaders, but analysts said it could be the first time it has accused the allies of an actual assassination attempt.

The KCNA report alleged that a North Korean citizen was recruited by the intelligence agencies, but the plan was "recently uncovered and smashed", CNN reported.

Over the years, North Korea has also detained around a dozen USA citizens for anti-state activities allegedly designed by the American government to cripple the undesirable North Korean regime.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul and South Korea's National Intelligence Service were not immediately available for comment, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year, Seoul accused Pyongyang of using the chemical war agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Un's exiled half-brother at Kuala Lumpur's airport, which led to calls in the USA to relist the North as a state sponsor of terrorism. There was no news of how Kim smuggled the device back into North Korea or what had become of him.

It comes after increased criticism of North Korea in Chinese state media amid heightened tensions in the region.

North Korea has also repeatedly accused the US of plotting preemptive nuclear strikes on Pyongyang, practicing dropping nuclear bombs on North Korea with planes which aren't even capable of carrying nuclear devices, and planning a massive invasion of the North.

The WeChat account of the overseas edition of the People's Daily, in its reaction to the KCNA piece, said it was clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile activities were a threat to China.

It did not mention Kim Jong-un by name, but he is widely referred to as the Supreme Leader.

North Korea on Thursday slammed China for what it called "reckless remarks" about the nation's nuclear program.

Mr Tillerson said the Trump administration had been "leaning hard into test their willingness to use their influence, their engagement with the regime". Trump's team has to tread warily, but there will be only tragedy from military action; talks will always be the best option.

In the paranoid universe of North Korea, the feverish accusations it makes against its sworn enemies bear a creepy resemblance to its own misdeeds.

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