North Korea calls US-South Korea plot a 'declaration of war'

North Korea demanded on Thursday the handover of "terror suspects" who plotted to kill leader Kim Jong Un with a biochemical substance, repeating accusations it made last week that US and South Korean spies were behind the plan.

The accusation came after weeks of tension over North Korea's nuclear and missile development and fears it will conduct a sixth nuclear test or test-launch another ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"The Ministry of State Security of North Korea has announced that it will find and mercilessly destroy the organizers behind the [planned] terror [attacks] from the CIA and National Intelligence Service of South Korea to the last one", the ambassador vowed.

It said the aim was to hurt "the mental mainstay that all the Korean people absolutely trust" and "eclipse the eternal sun" of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the country's official name.

"According to our law, the Central Public Prosecutor's Office of the DPRK will use all available methods to start to work to demand the handover of the criminals involved, so as to punish the organisers, conspirators, and followers of this awful state-sponsored terrorism", he said.

Lee leads the NIS, though new South Korean President Moon Jae-in has nominated a replacement.

Last week's KCNA report claimed that members of the Central Intelligence Agency and NIS worked with a North Korean citizen in a plot to "commit bomb terrorism targeting the supreme leadership", and that the plot was "recently uncovered and smashed".

The State Department issued reports this week warning Americans not to travel to North Korea, where the regime in Pyongyang is stepping up detentions and military provocations. US and South Korean intelligence officials dismissed the accusations.

The CIA and the White House declined to comment on the statements.

North Korea said USA and South Korean agents bribed and coerced a North Korean man into joining the plot which was foiled by its state security ministry.

Last month, the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun claimed US-Australian military exercises in northern Australia were preparation for nuclear war against North Korea and threatened Darwin with a potential retaliatory strike.

A statement Thursday from the mission said a "Korean-style anti-terrorist offensive will be commenced to mop up the intelligence and plot-breeding organizations of the US and South Korea".

  • Leroy Wright