The US has been accused of planning to use the United States Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate the leader of North Korea.
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un
North Korea on Friday accused the CIA of plotting with South Korea to assassinate the isolated country’s leader Kim Jong-Un, amid soaring tensions in the flashpoint region, AFP reports.
A statement carried by state media revealed that the CIA and Seoul’s Intelligence Services have “hatched a vicious plot” involving unspecified “biochemical substances” to assassinate the hermit state’s young leader during public ceremonial events in Pyongyang.
This comes after US President Donald Trump said he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un under the right conditions, in comments that contrasted with earlier threats of military action.
As Pyongyang threatens to carry out a sixth nuclear test that would further inflame tensions, Trump appeared to offer the prospect of a diplomatic off-ramp.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him I would, absolutely. I would be honored to do it,” Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that,” Trump said.
South Korean analysts said the US president was “groping for an exit” after weeks of heightened tensions over the North’s weapons ambitions.
In recent weeks Trump has threatened and berated the regime, fearing it may be months away from marrying nuclear and long-range missile technology — making a strike against the western United States possible.
Trump’s main gambit has been to encourage China to use its leverage to pressure Pyongyang — a strategy that has failed to produce results in the past.
The Republican president has also said he is ready to act alone in the stand-off, however — and on Monday signaled that this could involve face-to-face talks with Kim, who has yet to meet a foreign leader since taking power.
“Following weeks of huffing and puffing, Trump is apparently groping for an exit,” said Hong Hyun-Ik of Sejong University in Seoul.
“True to his mentality as a businessman, he has driven the situation close to the edge but stopped short of pushing it over the cliff in order to get the upper hand in future negotiations.
“Trump on Sunday repeated his determination to resolve the threat posed by North Korea, warning in a CBS interview: “We cannot let what’s been going on for a long period of years continue.”
But the US leader also offered some backhanded praise for Kim, saying he had faced a formidable challenge in taking over the country at a reported age of 27 after his father’s death in 2011.
“He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others. And at a very young age, he was able to assume power,” Trump said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie,” he said.
That comment left the White House struggling to downplay Trump’s apparent