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Report: North Korea agents arrested in China

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: North Korea agents arrested in China
Kim Han Sol, nephew of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was recently the target of North Korean assassins, according to a South Korean press report. Image courtesy of Cheollima Civil Defense/YouTube

Oct. 30 (UPI) -- North Korean agents who attempted to assassinate Kim Han Sol were arrested in Beijing, according to a South Korean newspaper.

The JoongAng Daily reported Monday Chinese authorities have detained a group of North Koreans connected to a plot to kill Kim following the assassination of Kim's father, Kim Jong Nam, at an airport in Malaysia.

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A source familiar with the matter told the JoongAng the members of "the North's reconnaissance squad had infiltrated [China] with the aim of eliminating Kim Han Sol, but some of them were arrested last week by Chinese national security, and are currently under investigation at special facilities outside Beijing."

The agents, seven in total, were divided into "support, action and blocking" groups and had identified Kim's location in China and the routes Kim used to travel, according to the report.

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Chinese authorities had stepped up surveillance of covert activities during the 19th party congress that concluded last week, and foiled the plot to assassinate Kim, JoongAng's source said.

Kim Han Sol may represent a genuine threat to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

As the nephew of Kim Jong Un, the younger Kim is a member of the regime's Paektu bloodline, but had been living in exile with his family in Macau prior to his father's dramatic assassination in Kuala Lumpur.

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In March, a group that identified itself as Cheollima Civil Defense uploaded a video of Kim Han Sol stating he and his family were safe.

Kim Han Sol and his family's whereabouts are unknown.

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The slaying of Kim Jong Nam has pushed Malaysia to review its ties to North Korea.

Malaysian news service The Star reported Monday Kuala Lumpur is preparing to cut all connections to North Korea, following the assassination and in response to Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear weapons development.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia is considering shutting down its embassy in North Korea, according to the report.

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