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Two arrested in bid to assassinate North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop

South Korea arrested two North Korean agents who posed as defectors in a plot to assassinate North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop. The former top official left the North 13 years ago.

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Life of servitude

Defectors have quoted Kim Jong-il as describing Hwang as “worse than a dog,” and Hwang in his remarks in Washington and elsewhere has described serving Kim as like “slave labor.”

“As secretary of the Workers’ Party, we only listened to Kim Jong-il,” he said. “He was general secretary and there were 10 secretaries. We were quite powerful, but we were high-ranked slaves. We led a life of servitude. We did not have freedom.”

Kim Jong-il is reportedly planning to visit Beijing soon. But Hwang scoffed at a question as to what he thought Kim Jong-il would tell Chinese leaders, or what they would say to him, about returning to six-party talks on the North’s nuclear program.

“I do not care anything about his trip to Beijing,” he said. “There has been a lot of hoopla we don’t need. I don’t care a bit about what they will say about six-party talks. “

Meanwhile, the investigation into the sinking of the South Korean Navy ship continues. The ship was torn in two, sending 46 sailors to their deaths, by what investigators say was an “external explosion” in disputed waters in the West or Yellow Sea. The stern of the ship is now under intense scrutiny at its home port of Pyongtaek 40 miles southwest of Seoul, and a rescue team expects to drag up the main portion of the vessel by this weekend.

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