A poisoned North Korean needle allegedly delivered the killing blow to a South Korean political activist. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Hafiz Issadeen/Flickr)

A member nation of what former U.S. President George W. Bush referred to as the “Axis of Evil” is up to its axis in trouble, reports the Los Angeles Times. Reports out of China indicate that a North Korean assassination plot on Chinese soil involving poisoned needles has opened the nation north of the north 38th parallel up to charges of terrorism.

North Korean assassination plots a pain in the side

The regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has been suspected of cloak-and-dagger assassination attempts three separate times in recent weeks by agents with poisoned hypodermic needles, report anti-terrorism activists.

One man, a 46-year-old pastor known as “Pastor Kim,” who was living in the Chinese city of Dandong near the North Korean border, was found dead in the street, his face and fingers discolored in a manner consistent with poisoning. He was known to assist defectors into China from North Korea.

Failed possible attempts

The following afternoon in the Chinese city of Yanji, another South Korean involved in religious missionary work, reportedly collapsed to the sidewalk after experiencing what he said felt like a pinprick in his lower back. Witnesses place a man at the scene who immediately uttered “Sorry, sorry” in Chinese after the man fell to the ground. This victim survived the alleged attack.

The third alleged assassination attempt, which did not succeed, was made against activist Park Sung-hak, who is known to have distributed leaflets that denounce the Kim Jong Il regime into North Korea via balloon. Sung-hak was in the South Korean capital of Seoul when the attack occurred.

South Korean intelligence claims leads deemed legitimate

The North Korean assassination plot against Park Sung-hak was reportedly foiled by South Korean intelligence, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Open Radio for North Korea host Young Howard. Speaking from his broadcast center in Seoul, Howard told the Los Angeles Times that crack security is needed to combat a continuing menace.

“It is clearly terrorism,” said Howard.

Howard believes the attacks were directed by Kim Jong Il’s youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jon Un, who is likely attempting to boost his standing among hard-line party members before he officially takes office.

“Kim Jong Un doesn’t fear international censure,” Howard said. “He is only thinking about increasing his power within the system.”

South Korea and China on alert

Kim Jeong Ok of the South Korean Foreign Ministry told reporters that while the initial autopsy showed no signs of poisoning in Pastor Kim, vigilance is advisable.

“Whatever the truth is, the [South] Korean Foreign Ministry has asked the Chinese government and police to be more attentive to the security of expatriate Koreans,” said Kim Jeong Ok.

Do Hee Yun, leader of the Citizens Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, was more decisive about the nature of Pastor Kim’s death.

“I’m confident, 100 percent, that it was poisoning,” he said.

The North Korean assassination game


38th Parallel North Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38th_parallel_north

Al Jazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/04/20104215349387433.html

Global Times: http://bit.ly/oeclBn

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/la-korean-dissidentss26-m,0,4059855.story

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