North Korea demands handover of suspects
in assassination plot: Xinhua
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[May 11, 2017]
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea
demanded on Thursday the handover of "terror suspects" who plotted to
kill leader Kim Jong Un with a biochemical substance, repeating
accusations it made last week that U.S. and South Korean spies were
behind the plan.
The North's KCNA news agency last week accused the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency and South Korea's National Intelligence Service of a
plot to assassinate its "supreme leadership" with a biochemical weapon.
Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for weeks, driven by
concern that North Korea might conduct its sixth nuclear test or
test-launch another ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. Security
"The Central Prosecutor's Office will ask for the handover of those
criminals and prosecute them under the relevant laws," North Korean vice
foreign minister Han Song Ryol told foreign diplomats and reporters in
Pyongyang, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
The CIA and the U.S. White House declined to comment on the statement
from the North's Ministry of State Security last week.
The South Korean intelligence service said the charge was "groundless".
Han "declared the principled stand of the ... government to find out all
of the terrorist maniacs and mercilessly wipe them out", the North's
KCNA news agency said in a report on the briefing.
There was no elaboration in either the Xinhua report or the KCNA report
on how many suspects North Korea was seeking, or of who or where they
were, but Xinhua said North Korea had vowed to "hunt down to the last
one of the suspects in every corner of the earth".
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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, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir
Separately, the CIA said on Wednesday it had established a Korea
Mission Center to "harness the full resources, capabilities and
authorities of the Agency in addressing the nuclear and ballistic
missile threat posed by North Korea".
The center would gather experienced officers from across the CIA in
one entity "to bring their expertise and creativity to bear against
the North Korea target", it said.
(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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