North Korea denies ties to Daesh

Published November 23rd, 2015 - 03:45 GMT
North Korean leader Kim Jung Un walks in front of an assembly of soldiers during a rally. (AFP/File)
North Korean leader Kim Jung Un walks in front of an assembly of soldiers during a rally. (AFP/File)

North Korea denied connections to the Islamic State (Daesh) on Monday while claiming South Korea's parliament had alleged Pyongyang has ties to the group.

Pyongyang's state-controlled media outlet Uriminzokkiri stated Seoul's National Assembly Intelligence Committee had said Nov. 18 that North Korea has possible ties to IS, but "they have not found concrete evidence." North Korea added the report was "slander and fabrications about the unitary people [of North and South Korea]," Yonhap reported.

On Nov. 17, North Korea had sent a message of condolence regarding the Paris attacks to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

North Korea lashed out at the South's spy agency, saying its main work was to encourage hostility and interfere with improvements in North-South relations.

"The South Korea authorities are using the National Intelligence Service to push our two peoples to fight against each other by carelessly tossing around claims of connections to terrorist groups," Pyongyang said in the statement.

North Korea also said Seoul's opposition to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program was "anti-North Korea" while the South engages in everyday exercises with "foreign forces" on an invasion of the North.

"Not only are the two-faced South Korean authorities throwing cold water on the improved atmospherics of North-South relations, but affairs could relapse to tensions that occurred prior to the August agreement," North Korea said, urging "an end" to the South's speculations about links to terrorist groups.

North Korea has been a staunch ally of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, opposed by the IS, and the two countries have cultivated military ties for many years. Pyongyang helped Syria build a nuclear facility destroyed by an Israeli air raid in 2007, and in September Syria dedicated a park to former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.

But under Kim Jong Un, the fate of North Korea's cadres is more uncertain than in previous regimes.

A source knowledgeable on the Kim leadership told Yonhap on Monday that Kim has purged more than 100 officials since assuming power in December 2011. On average, Kim has purged between 20-30 people per year.

Defections have increased among high-ranking officials, the source said, adding Kim has no respect for older officials, using derogatory terms when addressing them during direct confrontations.

Kim's power base is not stable, the source said.

By Elizabeth Shim


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