Friday 19 January 2018

North Korea planning terror attacks against South, claims Seoul official

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

David Blair in London

North Korea is preparing to threaten "lives and security" by launching terrorist attacks inside the South, a senior official in Seoul warned yesterday.

Kim Jong-un's regime is becoming increasingly belligerent, conducting its fourth nuclear test on January 6 and launching a ballistic missile earlier this month.

South Korea fears that its neighbour is now preparing to carry out terrorist attacks on its soil. President Park Geun-hye's government has proposed a new anti-terrorism law that would give the security forces more powers to counter any threat.

Making the case for this law, Kim Sung-woo, a senior official in the president's office, said that North Korea had decided to "muster anti-South terrorist capabilities that can pose a direct threat to our lives and security". Mr Kim added that the risk of terrorist attacks sponsored by North Korea was "increasing more than ever".

North Korea has an intelligence service - known as the "225th Bureau" - dedicated to the subversion of its southern neighbour. In the past, the North has carried out terrorist attacks, notably in 1987 when a bomb destroyed a South Korean airliner, killing 115 passengers and crew.

But there have been no serious incidents in recent years and some experts doubt whether the North poses a threat of this kind. One Western observer said that any offensive action was more likely to take the form of a cyber-attack, rather than a terrorist bombing.

Meanwhile, seismologists have warned that North Korea's repeated nuclear tests could trigger the eruption of Mount Paekdu, a volcano found only 115km from the site where four weapons have been detonated. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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