After weeks of saber rattling from both sides, North Korea has stoked tensions with the U.S. even further by accusing the C.I.A. of plotting with a North Korean citizen to assassinate Kim Jong-Un using a chemical agent.
According to North Korea’s state security ministry, the U.S. bribed an unnamed North Korean citizen to carry out the attack in Pyongyang, possibly during a military parade. According to The Guardian, since claims like this are next-to-impossible to verify, “frequent references to the presence of a hostile force bent on assassinating the North Korean leadership, and threatening the country’s very existence, is a time-honored tactic designed to shore up public support at home.”
The North Korean state media released little information about the alleged assassin, only that he was “human scum” who received about $750,000 from the U.S. and was working with a contact in South Korean intelligence. How North Korea discovered the plot against Kim Jong-Un is unknown, but “in a potential sign of an internal purge, it said the ministry would “ferret out and mercilessly destroy the terrorists.”
The Guardian points out that since the 1970s the CIA has scaled back assassination plots and most of the reported attempts against Kim Jong-Un’s life have come from within the North Korean government, so it’s possible that “Pyongyang may have decided it is politically more convenient to blame Washington than admit it was a purely internal plot” since the U.S. has been the subject of so much criticism already. Last week, Ohio governor John Kasich suggested the U.S. “eradicate” the North Korean leadership in order to avoid a war.
In February, Kim Jong-Un’s estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam was killed at an airport in Kuala Lumpur by attackers using a substance banned by the UN. The plot is believed to be tied to North Korea.
(Via The Guardian)