Arsenal of Terror, 2d Ed.: N. Korea reportedly orders assassination of prominent defector

I wondered what evidence the South Koreans had to back this up.

Police have strengthened security for a North Korean defector who serves as a ranking official at a South Korean state-run think tank after the North ordered his assassination, a source said Friday.

Since mid-January, police have beefed up the guard over Ko Young-hwan, vice president of the Institute for National Security Strategy, as North Korea is believed to have issued an order to kill him according to a source familiar with North Korean affairs.

Ko defected to South Korea in 1991 after serving as a North Korean diplomat at the North’s embassy in the Congo. [Yonhap]

The hit would have been ordered by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, right around the time its head was promoted to lead the United Front Department, which is in charge of the North’s relations with (and influence operations within) South Korea.

North Korea has ordered a series of assassination attempts against human rights activists and defectors since shortly after President Bush removed it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Obama Administration’s official view is that North Korea is “not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987.” Discuss among yourselves.

If anyone needs a fresh reason to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, this could be it.

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