North Korea’s Ministry of State Security released an in depth statement on Friday, accusing the United State’s Central Intelligence Agency and the South Korean Intelligence Service of sponsoring a biological terror attack intended to kill the nation’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un.
According to a statement released by the Ministry, the CIA and South Korea’s Intelligence Service (referred to as IS) “corrupted and bribed a DPRK citizen” starting in July of 2014. Per their accusations, intelligence operatives from the two nations engaged the North Korean citizen while he was a timber worker in the Khabarovsk Territory of Russia.
From there, the North Korean citizen, whose surname they reveal to be Kim, was supposedly groomed for intelligence operations within the North Korean state that included establishing terrorist cells and the supporting infrastructure needed to smuggle equipment into the nation, and most importantly, the use of biological weapons to kill North Korea’s leadership.
Their claims regarding the biological weapons nearly parallel the plot of the movie “The Interview,” in which American journalists attempt to covertly infect Kim with a chemical that will kill him after their departure. Although, unlike in the controversial comedy, North Korea claims the weapon was designed to keep the target living for up to a year before killing him.
“They told him that assassination by use of biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano poisonous substance is the best method that does not require access to the target, their lethal results will appear after six or twelve months,” the statement reads.
The statement goes on to accuse the United States of providing the poisonous substance, and South Korea of providing the rest of the support and equipment.
“… The component of terrorism-purposed bio-chemical substance is the know-how of the CIA and it is only the CIA that can produce such substance, and that hardware, supplies and funds needed for committing terrorism against the supreme leadership will completely be borne by the IS.”
North Korea provides dates and sums of money that were supposedly funneled to this contact, including some payments as high as $100,000 (US) in order to fund “terrorist” activities from Pyongyang, where the operative was said to live.
“Urging him to set up an overseas liaison center for the safe introduction of equipment, materials and fund for the terrorist acts, they financed him 100 000 U.S. dollars on two occasions for setting up the center and bribing terrorist accomplices.”
The statement goes on to claim that the operative was directed to provide detailed information regarding “the surrounding environment of event ground where celebrations are held frequently,” including security and locations of personnel. That information was supposed to be provided to South Korean intelligence for dissemination to the United States and further analysis to construct a strategy aimed at infecting the Supreme Leader.
The statement also suggests that not only was the operative “brainwashed” by the CIA, but he was then trained in the practice of brainwashing others in order to gain support within North Korea in subverting its government.
It claims that all members involved in the plot they suggest they have foiled will be hunted down everywhere in the world, but that they assume more plots are ongoing – in a strategic bit of PR that would now place any harm that befalls Kim Jong Un at the feet of the United States and South Korea, even if the result of an internal struggle.
“Therefore, it is our determination to root up all the dens of plot and trick like CIA and IS, the source of all evils in the world, and a series of more powerful our-style anti-terrorism striking actions will begin immediately.”
The statement is laden with threats directed as North Korean citizens they believe to be involved and international organizations like the CIA and South Korea’s Intelligence Services. They place an emphasis on conducting retribution operations in “our style,” which are not elaborated upon.
Although not without precedent, it seems extremely unlikely that the United States would be actively pursuing the assassination of Kim Jong Un. While seemingly beneficial to the overall peace of the world, removing Kim from power without an established and Western friendly successor would likely end in any number of ways that are all objectively worse than the current verbally aggressive but primarily passive regime. Kim often levies threats toward the world, but he has clearly established himself as the sort of man who either cannot, or will not, follow through on those threats.
Killing Kim could easily result in the emergence of a new leader that is less apt to hyperbole, and potentially more willing to use the fledgling nuclear arsenal already in his or her control. Worse still, a collapse of the North Korean government would likely result in an international emergency, as refugees may flood across the border and that same nuclear arsenal could find itself available for purchase, or lost entirely, during the ensuing social unrest.
In short, a living, breathing, and threatening Kim Jong Un is actually a safer alternative to assassination unless there already exists a group in place that is prepared to rapidly assume power and improve relations with the West.
North Korea has also established international precedent in terms of releasing official fictions and declaring them facts. Earlier this year, the North Korean government issued differing statements regarding the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam – with some claiming that it wasn’t him at all, and others claiming that he must have died of a heart attack. Interestingly, Kim Jong Nam was killed using a biological agent Malaysian authorities tied to North Korea.
Despite that, it’s important to note that North Korea has not levied such high-profile accusations about U.S. sponsored domestic terrorism before, meaning there may have been some inciting incident prompting this release. Due to their penchant for exaggeration and narrative manipulation, it may be difficult to glean exactly what portions of this story may have served as the factual basis behind their version of events.
The United States has yet to issue a statement regarding the accusations of the North Korean government.
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures