News / Asia

South Korea Says Defense Minister Target of 'Terror'

Threatening letter with white substance, determined to be flour, mailed to South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, ROK Ministry of National Defense, undated.
Threatening letter with white substance, determined to be flour, mailed to South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, ROK Ministry of National Defense, undated.
— At a time of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula, South Korea's government says its defense minister has been targeted in what it is calling an attempted act of “terror.”

South Korean officials say they are taking seriously a parcel containing a threatening letter sent to Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin.

The letter, which was sent with a white powder that turned out to be flour, threatens the defense chief with unspecified punishment if he harms the dignity of North Korea.

Kim, known for his tough stance towards North Korea, has warned Pyongyang its military would be destroyed should it attack the South.

The language of the letter is identical to that in hundreds of leaflets which were discovered last Friday near the defense ministry. The flyers vowed Kim would be punished for his stance toward the North.

In recent weeks, North Korea's state-run media has mentioned the defense minister by name as a top enemy.

Threats containing similar language were e-mailed last Friday to South Korean journalists who write about foreign affairs and national security. Lee Seok-young, director of the defector-operated Free North Korea Radio outlet, received one such e-mail.

While defector 
groups are often targets North Korean criticism, Lee says, this is the first time the broadcaster received such an e-mail.

He says the e-mail is an unprecedented warning rather than a routine threat and that staff members are now being very cautious about their security and movements, but that they will never stop their activities.

The delivery of the powder and letter to the defense ministry comes a day after threatening flyers were found at the site of a vandalized cram school [private exam-preparation school] in the city of Daegu.

Five leaflets, found at a language institute named the American Cultural Center, warned “no single American will leave this country alive if Washington wages another war here.”

The pamphlets were signed in the name of a group authorities say is unknown to them: the Anti-American Fascism Struggle Committee.

Police say surveillance footage shows two masked men inside the school building who hurled bottles filled with flammable liquid, causing a small explosion.

The school is privately owned by South Koreans and has no connection to the U.S. government.

Media reports say soldiers of the 50th division of the South Korean Army have been dispatched to guard the outside of the nine-story building where the school is located.

In recent months, North Korea, both in the name of high-level state organs and in official news dispatches, has disseminated a stream of invectives declaring war against the rival South and threatening a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid