Kim Jong-Un ordered me to assassinate defector, admits ex-North Korean colonel

Kim Kuk-Song talked to the BBC about his life as a senior North Korean colonel. (BBC)

A former North Korean colonel has admitted he was asked to assassinate a defector who had fled to the South.

In a BBC interview with Kim Kuk-Song, a colonel who spent 30 years working in North Korea's powerful spy agencies before he defected, admitted being asked to kill other defectors.

He said in May 2009 he was ordered to create a "terror task force" to kill a former official who had defected to South Korea.

He said the order came from current North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un while his father Kim Jong-Il was in charge.

Kuk-Song said: "For Kim Jong-Un, it was an act to satisfy the supreme leader (his father)."

North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop in 2005. (Reuters)
North Korean defector Hwang Jang-Yop in 2005. (Reuters)

He said: "A 'Terror Force' was formed to assassinate Hwang Jang-Yop in secret. I personally directed and carried out the work.

"In North Korea, terrorism is a political tool that protects the highest dignity of Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un.

"It was a gift to demonstrate the successor's loyalty to his great leader."

Kuk-Song said at one point in his life he was a loyal communist but as he began to feel unsafe in his position he defected to South Korea and now works for their intelligence agencies.

Kuk-Song's claims cannot be independently verified.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the opening of the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on June 16, 2021 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
Kim Kuk-Song claimed North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ordered him to murder a defector. (Reuters)

He said he was ordered to murder Hwang Jang-Yop, a key architect of many of North Korea's policies in the 1990s.

His defection in 1997 has never been forgiven. He died aged 87 in 2010.

After he escaped to the south he became a vocal critic of the North Korean regime.

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The attempted assassination went wrong and two North Koreans are currently in jail because of it.

The North Korean government denied being involved but Kuk-Song's testimony says otherwise.

Kuk-Song also claimed he used to be in command of several spies who reached as high as the South Korean president's office.

Terrorism and assassination has long been a tool of the North Koreans.

In 2017, Kim Jong-Un's half brother was assassinated with a nerve agent in Kuala Lumpur's national airport.

The open murder of a member of the family on foreign ground shocked the world.

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Despite recent attempts by former US President Donald Trump to improve relations between North Korea and the rest of the world the country remains incredibly isolated and hostile.

North Korea's state media announced on Monday what it said were successful tests of a new long-range "strategic" cruise missile that analysts said could be the country's first such weapon with a nuclear capability.

Analysts said calling it "strategic" could mean it was a nuclear-capable system.

It is unclear whether North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build warheads small enough to be carried on a cruise missile, but leader Jong-Un said earlier this year that developing smaller bombs is a top goal.

The US military's Indo-Pacific Command said the activity highlighted North Korea's "continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbours and the international community".

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