07 May, 2017
North Korea has accused the US and South Korea of attempting to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un with a "bio-chemical substance".
The statement was issued by the North Korean security ministry through state media outlet KCNA, according to Seoul's Yonhap News agency, and alleged that a CIA-sponsored "terrorist group" had been planning the attack.
Any new USA sanctions against North Korea would likely affect China, the North's most important trade partner.
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The United States is using the pretext of North Korea to build up its military capabilities in order to launch a nuclear attack on China, an American writer and retired professor says.
With President Trump promising to stop North Korea developing nuclear weapons, these are also tense times, when Pyongyang could have been tempted to hit back at the US.
Although the North Korean suspect was not named in the official televised broadcast, he was identified by his surname - Kim.
The US Embassy in Seoul and the NIS were not immediately available for comment.
He was supposed to target the "supreme leadership" at a public event or military parade, using "bomb terrorism" that involved "biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano-poisonous substance", it said.More news: NKorea says it will speed up nuke program in response to US
It was the largest group defection by North Koreans to the South since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took power in 2011.
Analysts concur that a possible suspension of China's oil exports would have a major impact on North Korea, but they are more inclined to believe that China would not use its biggest punitive measure as leverage over North Korea-a total oil embargo-if Pyongyang is carrying out low-intensity provocations.
John Delury, a professor of worldwide relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, said one of the North Korean regime's main narratives is that the country faces relentless hostility from the outside world, driven by the United States.
The Global Times, an outspoken nationalist tabloid published by China's ruling Communist Party's flagship People's Daily, warned in a Thursday editorial that the North's actions threatened a 1961 treaty of non-aggression between the two countries.
The ministry said after a series of contacts and payments, the agents told the North Korean last month that the type of biochemical substance had been decided and would be supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency.
It is likely that any economic pressure will negatively affect China, which is North Korea's closest trading partner.
Two women smeared the man's face with the toxic VX nerve agent, a chemical described by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, at a Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb 13.
When North Korea executed Kim's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, it accused him of plotting to overthrow Kim's government.