Mon, Apr 01, 2019 - Page 1 News List

N Korea calls raid on Madrid embassy a ‘terrorist attack’

AFP, SEOUL

The North Korean embassy in Madrid is pictured on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

North Korea yesterday described a February raid on its embassy in Madrid by a dissident group as a “grave terrorist attack” and urged an investigation into the perpetrators.

A group of armed men burst into Pyongyang’s Spanish embassy last month and roughed up employees before fleeing with documents and computers.

The incident came just days before a high-stakes nuclear summit in Hanoi between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump that ultimately failed to reach an accord.

In its first official comment on the raid, North Korea said that the FBI was possibly involved and called on Spanish authorities to bring the “terrorists and their wire-pullers to justice.”

“A grave terrorist attack occurred on Feb. 22, where an armed group assaulted the DPRK Embassy in Spain,” a North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, using the acronym for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We are following the rumors of all hues now in the air that FBI of the United States and the small fry of anti-DPRK ‘body’ were involved in the terror incident,” it said. “We expect that the authorities concerned in Spain ... carry out an investigation into the incident to the last in a responsible manner.”

An investigation into the raid is already under way in Madrid.

On Wednesday, a Spanish court named Mexican national Adrian Hong Chang as the leader of the group that contacted “the FBI in New York five days after the assault” with information related to the incident in the embassy.

Investigating judge Jose de la Mata said that two of the assailants took the embassy’s commercial attache to an underground room and urged him to defect.

He refused.

Speculation over the identity and motive of the assailants has swirled in the media since the murky raid, with some suggesting links to the CIA and FBI.

Hours after the court statement, the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) — a dissident group believed to include high-profile North Korean defectors — claimed responsibility for the raid.

It said that the raid had no links to the Hanoi summit — which ended abruptly — and that no other governments were involved until after the event.

“The organization shared certain information of enormous potential value with the FBI in the United States, under mutually agreed terms of confidentiality,” the CCD said in a statement posted on its Web site last week.

The group — which offers to assist people attempting to defect from North Korea — emerged in 2017 when it posted an online video of the son of the North Korean leader’s assassinated brother, saying it had guaranteed his safety.

Last month, the group declared itself a government-in-exile for the North called “Free Joseon,” using an old name for Korea.

The CCD has identified itself as a group of defectors around the world, but it is still unclear who is behind the shadowy organization — although some speculate it has links to South Korea’s spy agency.

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