South Korea’s ousted president reportedly signed off on plans to remove North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un from power by any means necessary, including exile and assassination.
After a bilateral meeting between the North and South failed to produce the desired results, former South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who was impeached for corruption earlier this year, approved a plan for “leadership change” in North Korea, according to an inside source with knowledge of the South’s North Korea policy during the Park administration, the Asahi Shimbun, a well-known Japanese newspaper, reported Monday.
The Park administration largely abandoned plans for dialogue and maintained a more controversial stance in its dealings with South Korea’s northern neighbor. Under Park’s leadership, South Korea and the U.S. reportedly discussed developing a special operations unit to eliminate North Korean leadership in the event that a North Korean strike on the South appeared eminent.
Park also called on North Korean citizens to defect en masse.
The National Intelligence Service was tasked with developing the elimination strategy. The plotters, careful to cover Seoul’s tracks to prevent military retaliation, considered causing an “accident” to take out the young North Korean despot. The spy agency had apparently pushed reports describing an unstable North Korean society ruled by a paranoid leader, making regime change a realistic goal. The National Intelligence Service has since concluded that Kim Jong-un has a much tighter grip on his country than previously expected, making leadership change a largely impossible aspiration.
Kim Jong-un’s security prevented any offensive move from taking place, though. The North Korean dictator is concerned about the possibility of a decapitation strike by allied forces, something discussed regularly during the Park administration, and is extremely paranoid. The young leader has reduced his public appearances by 32 percent. When Kim travels, he does so before dawn, and he uses his subordinates’ vehicles, not his Mercedes Benz, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service revealed earlier this month, according to a report from The Korea Herald.
North Korea recently accused the National Intelligence Service and the Central Intelligence Agency of conspiring to kill Kim Jong-un using a biochemical weapon. The evidence, however, is a little bit shaky.
While a leadership change did not take place in North Korea, one did take place in the South. Park was ousted and jailed, and the South Korean people elected Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate in favor of increased dialogue, although North Korea’s regular missile tests have complicated this strategy.
North Korea is believed to be close to mastering the technology necessary to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon able to impact South Korea’s defense strategy and those of its allies.
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