North Korea has vowed retaliation for an alleged failed assassination attempt against its leader Kim Jong-un.
The North’s army will launch “a series of more powerful anti-terrorism striking actions and mercilessly destroy the terrorists,” read a report published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Monday.
It noted that during public ceremonial events in Pyongyang marking the birth of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-Sung, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and South Korea’s intelligence services had attempted to poison Kim with “biochemical substances.”
It also claimed that the CIA had paid $40,000 to a North Korean national to kill their leader.
Pyongyang’s head of intelligence, Ri Byong Ho, has stressed that the suspect behind the failed assassination is a “very important person" while noting that so far 80 attempts against Kim’s life have been thwarted.
The latest attempt happened just one day after North Korea announced that it has detained another US citizen on charges of acting against its sovereignty, making him the fourth American national to be detained by Pyongyang over the past weeks.
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There are no diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea. The new arrest is expected to further fuel tensions between the two countries, which have been engaged in a heated standoff over Pyongyang’s testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear deterrents.
The US has dispatched a military strike group to Korean waters in order to hold military drills with Japan and South Korea. Pyongyang has conducted a live artillery firing drill in response, warning the US and its regional allies against any invasion.