North Korea ‘planning revenge assassinations for spate of defections’

North Korea will be planning assassinations and kidnappings in revenge for a spate recent defections, officials in Seoul fear. Pyongyang was bent on provocation after being put in “a very difficult situation” by the betrayal of North Korea’s deputy ambassador in London Thae Yong Ho and others, the South’s unification ministry warned. Tensions are already high because of a large-scale South Korea-US military exercise starting on Monday “It is highly likely that North Korea will make various attempts to prevent further defections and unrest among its people,” a ministry official said.

Considering (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un’s character, it is very dangerous

South Korean official

There had been attempts to kill Hwang Jang-Yop, former tutor to the previous leader Kim Jong-Il, who defected to South Korea in 1997 and died of natural causes 13 years later, it is claimed. Kim Jong-Un had dispatched squads to the Chinese border “to harm South Koreans” following the defection in April of a group of North Korean overseas restaurant workers, the official added. Deputy ambassador Thae Yong-Ho was said to have defected because of his dissatisfaction with the North Korean regime. But in a vitriolic response on Saturday, the North claimed he was “human scum” who had embezzled state funds, raped a minor, spied for the South and fled “for fear of legal punishment for his crimes”.