Wednesday 26 July 2017

North Korea 'accuses CIA of trying to assassinate Kim Jong-un'

Government statement claims 'biochemical substances' used in plot

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people attending a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people attending a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Lizzie Dearden

North Korea has reportedly accused the CIA and South Korea of a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

A government statement carried by state media claimed the foreign intelligence services “hatched a vicious plot” using unspecified “biochemical substances”.

It was said to target Kim during a public appearance for ceremonial events in Pyongyang, where he recently watched huge military parades marking the Day of the Sun and the 85th anniversary of the North Korean army.

The allegations were reported by AFP news agency amid heightened tensions over a series of weapons tests carried out by the totalitarian state.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA). Picture: KCNA/Handout via REUTERS
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA). Picture: KCNA/Handout via REUTERS

Donald Trump has vowed to "properly deal" with Pyongyang, raising fears of a pre-emptive strike that could provoke a nuclear response.

Kim visited military detachments on two islets controlled by North Korea, while forming a strategy against the “South Korean puppet army”, state media reported on Friday.

“He said that the KPA elite artillery group defending the southwest front should keep highly alert to break the backbone of the enemy once ordered,” a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report claimed, following the activation of the American Thaad missile defence system and intensified joint military drills.

During a visit to Jangjae and Mu islands, Kim reportedly “acquainted and examined the plan for fire strike of the newly organised forces at the objects of the enemy”.

He toured facilities including barracks and a desalination plant, while “taking warm care” of soldiers and being photographed with their families.

North Korea has stationed multiple rocket launchers and artillery units on the two islands, where a shelling and rocket attack was launched on South Korea’s Yeongpyeong Island in 2010.

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation tighten sanctions on North Korea by targeting its shipping industry and companies that do business with the reclusive state.

Supporters hoped it would send a strong message to North Korea, amid international concern over the escalation of its nuclear programme.

If the sanctions are approved by the Senate and become law, they are likely to affect China, Pyongyang’s most important trade partner.

Beijing has been angered by North Korea's nuclear and missile tests and supported US sanctions, but foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said it opposes other countries using their own domestic law to impose unilateral sanctions.

He urged all sides need to exercise restraint and not irritate each other to avoid the situation worsening.

(© Independent News Service)

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