North Korea on Friday accused the governments of the United States and South Korea of carrying out an unsuccessful assassination attempt against leader Kim Jong Un.
State media reports quoted the country’s security ministry as saying it would “ferret out and mercilessly destroy” the agents in the U.S. and South Korean spy agencies it accuses of plotting the attack.
A cash deal
According to the Ministry of State Security, American and South Korean spies coerced a North Korean citizen into carrying out the assassination attempt in return for money and supplied the would-be assassin with satellite equipment to track Kim’s movement.
The cooperation between spies and the North Korean man, identified only by his surname, Kim, allegedly began in 2014 when agents approached him while he was working in Russia.
Upon returning home, the spies allegedly had repeated contact with the man, and last month informed him he would use a biochemical weapon to carry out the assassination.
No details revealed
The North Korean statement did not provide details about how it allegedly broke up the assassination plot or if anyone else involved was in custody. North Korea regularly lashes out at the U.S. and South Korea, though the allegations lodged Friday were more specific than usual.
The CIA declined to comment on the allegations.
Earlier this year, Kim’s exiled half-brother was assassinated at a Malaysian airport in a similar fashion to that described by the security ministry. The chemical attack, using the VX agent, is largely believed to have been carried out by North Korea, though the country denies involvement.