North Korea Enraged over ‘Grave Terrorist Attack’ on Embassy in Madrid, CIA Links Reported
The attackers describe themselves as a dissident North Korean group while Spanish police and intelligence sources say at least two of them are linked to the CIA.
A break-in of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain’s capital Madrid, which occurred in February 2019, has been officially defined by Pyongyang as a “grave terrorist attack”, while Spanish media report some of the intruders were linked to the CIA.
“An illegal intrusion into and occupation of diplomatic mission and act of extortion are a grave breach of the state sovereignty and a flagrant violation of international law, and this kind of act should never be tolerated,” a spokesperson of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry stated on Sunday, as cited by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The statement is North Korea’s first formal reaction to the incident from February 22, 2019, when 10 people broke into the North Korean Embassy in Madrid, and then assaulted and interrogated the eight people who were inside.
The spokesperson made clear North Korea’s expectations that the Spanish authorities would carry out an investigation of “the grave terrorist attack” “in order to bring the terrorists and their wire-pullers to justice in conformity with the relevant international law.”
“We are following the rumors of all hues now in the air that FBI of the United States and the small fry of anti-DPRK ‘body’ were involved in the terror incident,” reads verbatim the English-language version of the North Korean statement.
The aim of the break-in of the North Korean Embassy in Madrid was to find and steal “sensitive information on North Korea’s nuclear and weapons program,” according to Spanish police sources cited by El Pais.
José de la Mata, the investigating judge at Spain’s High Court (Audiencia Nacional) said members of the North Korean Embassy staff were handcuffed, interrogated and beaten during the assault.
According to the Spanish police investigation points, Adrian Hong Chang, 35, who is a US resident with Mexican citizenship, described as “a mercenary of North Korean origin” is the mastermind behind the break-in.
“[Adrian Hong Chang] is the owner of several dubious businesses and he is in contact with several intelligence services,” according to the cited sources.
A total of seven of the attackers have been identified, in addition to Adrian Hong Chang, who is also investigated for involvement against other violent attacks on North Korean interests. Another of the identified intruders is a US national named Sam Ryu.
Spain has requested their extradition from the United States where they fled after the raid on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid.
The other identified intruders are US residents with South Korean citizenships, according to the Spanish authorities.
At least two of the intruders are connected to the CIA, according to both police and intelligence sources cited by El Pais earlier.
The raid on the North Korean Embasys in Madrid in February is described as one of the most serious diplomatic incidents to take place on Spanish territory.
It occurred five days before the Vietnam summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. The Trump – Kim meeting in Hanoi ended without any rapprochement deal despite the wide grins of the two leaders.
Last week, US President Donald Trump denied that the attack on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid had “anything do with the United States.”
No representative of the Spanish government has commented on the incident so far.
After the incident, responsibility was claimed by a secretive North Korean dissident group called Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD).
The CCD, however, denied in a statement that the incident was “an attack”, that any foreign governments were involved in the operation or that it was related to US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit in Hanoi.
“This was not an attack. We responded to an urgent situation in the Madrid embassy. We were invited into the embassy, and contrary to reports, no one was gagged or beaten. Out of respect for the host nation of Spain, no weapons were used. All occupants in the embassy were treated with dignity and necessary caution. There were no other governments involved with or aware of our activity until after the event,” the CCD said.
It confirmed it had shared information with the FBI voluntarily but at the FBI’s request.
“[The USA] would always call for the protection of embassies belonging to any diplomatic mission throughout the world,” he said.
(Banner image: TV grab from CNN)