North Korea on Friday accused U.S. and South Korean intelligence services of hatching a plot to assassinate dictator Kim Jong Un with a “biochemical substance.”
The claim comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over the reclusive regime’s nuclear weapons program and recent provocative ballistic missile tests.
According to North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, “a hideous terrorists’ group” directed by CIA and South Korean spies “ideologically corrupted” a North Korean dissident identified as “Kim” and paid the man more than $20,000 to carry out the attack.
“They hatched a plot of letting human scum Kim commit bomb terrorism targeting the supreme leadership during events at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and at military parade and public procession after his return home," KCNA said, according to a Reuters translation.
"They told him that assassination by use of biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano poisonous substance is the best method that does not require access to the target, their lethal results will appear after six or twelve months.”
The date of the alleged assassination attempt is unclear; however, Kim Jong Un presided over a military parade on April 15.
"Criminals going hell-bent to realize such a pipe dream cannot survive on this land even a moment," KCNA said.
North Korea’s Ministry of State Security called the supposed plot a “last-ditch effort” that had gone “beyond the limits.”
North Korea vowed to “mercilessly destroy” the terrorists behind the plan – which is oddly reminiscent of the 2014 comedy “The Interview,” in which a reporter tries to covertly poison Kim Jong Un with a biochemical substance.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea, the latest attempt by U.S. officials to deter North Korea from carrying out a sixth nuclear test.
President Trump already has sent a nuclear-powered submarine and the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to Korean waters, and the U.S. recently installed the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.