February 19, 2016 09:52
A lawmaker here on Thursday claimed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered more cyber attacks against South Korea.
Citing information from the National Intelligence Service, Lee Cheol-woo of the ruling Saenuri Party told an emergency security meeting of government and ruling party officials the North could also use poison or abduct South Korean citizens as part of what he described as a "terror" campaign.
"The North can inflict damage on anti-North Korean activists, defectors and government officials here," Lee later told reporters.
Cheong Wa Dae in an emergency briefing on Thursday afternoon confirmed the intelligence. Chief presidential secretary for public affairs Kim Sung-woo said, "The chance of a North Korean terror attack is greater than ever."
But neither Cheong Wa Dae nor the National Intelligence Service offered concrete evidence pointing to an impending North Korean terror attack. Intelligence officials claimed that would compromise South Korea's ability to deal with such an attack.
But skeptics say the government is using fear tactics to pressure lawmakers to swiftly ratify an anti-terrorism bill that has been stuck in parliament since 2001.
A government official said, "We have identified multiple signs of North Korea gathering related information via hacking in order to find suitable targets for cyber attacks."
The NIS warned that government agencies, South Korean media that are critical of the North and financial institutions could become targets. "It could target public facilities and key infrastructure, including subways, shopping malls and power stations," Lee claimed.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said at a National Assembly hearing that the government has no legal means to punish or block a known terrorist who has entered Korea.
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