CIA forms special unit focused on North Korea threat

13 May, 2017, 01:37 | Author: Celia Hoffman

North Korea declared Thursday it had the "sovereign right" to "ruthlessly punish" Americans who have been detained for alleged crimes against the government - dismissing descriptions of the arrests as a bargaining ploy as "pure ignorance".

North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol speaks during a meeting at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, on May 11, 2017.

There are 10 such existing centers in the Central Intelligence Agency, and the new addition will be the most focused in terms of geographical area and remit - the Korean Peninsula now falls under the jurisdiction of the Mission Center for East Asia and Pacific.

Washington has suggested military action could be on the table but President Donald Trump has softened his message more recently, saying he would be "honoured" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Tensions between the USA and North Korea rose especially after a tense exchange between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which prompted President Trump to announce the deployment last March of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD) in South Korea.

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The North's state media have been running stories about the plot since last week.

The Senate intelligence committee is holding a hearing on worldwide threats, and intelligence director Dan Coats says Russian Federation is a threat to US government, military, diplomatic, business and critical infrastructure. The North also said "a guy surnamed Han" taught Kim how to enlist accomplices.

"These biochemical substances were to be provided with the assistance of the CIA. while the South Korean Intelligence Service was to provide necessary support and funding for this attempt at assassination on our supreme leader".

Nixon, the former analyst, said he also expects significant cooperation with South Korean intelligence services going forward. With an unnamed veteran at the helm of the specially created mission force, it will consolidate the agency's resources in addressing the increasing threats from Pyongyang.

The move comes as North Korea appears poised to undertake its sixth nuclear test, a move that would exacerbate jitters across East Asia.

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