Tags: Kim | Korea | probe | ship | hit

Kim's Role Probed in SKorea Ship Hit

Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 09:02 AM

SEOUL — A former North Korean agent -- who claimed she got orders from Kim Jong-Il to bomb a South Korean airliner in 1987 -- says she believes Kim also ordered the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Kim Hyun-Hee, who was sentenced to death but later pardoned for her role in blowing up the plane with the loss of 115 lives, was quoted by the Monthly Chosun, a magazine published by Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

"No big incidents like this can happen without informing Kim Jong-Il," the ex-agent, who now lives under guard in South Korea, was quoted as saying.

"Although the planning and preparation would have been done by the military, final confirmation must come from Kim."

Kim Jong-Il formally took over as the North's leader after his father Kim Il-Sung died in 1994, but he had been groomed for the role since the 1980s.

Cross-border tensions have risen sharply since the South -- citing the findings of a multinational investigation -- accused its neighbour of torpedoing the warship in March with the loss of 46 lives.

The North, which denies involvement, has threatened military retaliation if the UN Security Council censures it as Seoul wants.

Former agent Kim said people who refuse to accept the investigation results are "afraid of the truth that North Korea did it, and they just don't like it".

She said the North still denies involvement in the bombing of the Korean Air flight in 1987.

"It thinks constantly denying something will make it go away. The Cheonan (warship) sinking made me realise that North Korean strategy hasn't changed."

The ex-agent said the North detonated the plane bomb when the flight was over the ocean to destroy the evidence.

"Trying to drop the plane into the deep sea to erase all the traces, and trying to destroy all the evidence by attacking a submarine with a torpedo... it's all the same."

The South, she said, "should take a hardline policy against terrorists to prevent these things from happening again".

The plane was en route from Baghdad to Seoul via Bangkok when it blew up over the Andaman Sea.

Two North Korean agents had boarded in Baghdad and got off during a stopover in the Gulf after leaving a time bomb in an overhead compartment. They were arrested when they tried to leave Bahrain using fake Japanese passports.

Both immediately swallowed cyanide capsules. The man died almost instantly but Kim survived.

She was brought to Seoul, where she confessed and alleged that Kim Jong-Il had personally overseen her mission.

After her reprieve, Kim published a book entitled "Tears of My Soul" describing her training at a North Korean spy school. She donated the proceeds to families of victims of the bombing.

She married one of her security guards and is now in her late 40s.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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SEOUL — A former North Korean agent -- who claimed she got orders from Kim Jong-Il to bomb a South Korean airliner in 1987 -- says she believes Kim also ordered the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.
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2010-02-23
Wednesday, 23 Jun 2010 09:02 AM
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