by WorldTribune Staff, February 26, 2019
A clandestine group which says its mission is to assist North Korean defectors said it would issue an “important” announcement this week, a report said.
Cheollima Civil Defense, which is believed to have rescued the son of the late Kim Jong-Nam from North Korea’s assassination squads, is set to make the announcement, The Chosun Ilbo reported on Feb. 26.
Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur in February 2017.
The announcement would be timed with the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi. Malaysian police arrested a 28-year-old Vietnamese woman named Đoàn Thị Hương and an Indonesian woman in the VX nerve agent attack on Kim Jong-Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
Cheollima Civil Defense reportedly rescued Kim Han-Sol, Kim Jong-Nam’s son.
Related: Kim Jong-Nam’s Chinese bodyguards disappeared before his assassination, February 22, 2017
A YouTube video posted by the group in March 2018 shows a man identified as the 21-year-old Kim Han-Sol holding up his passport to the camera and speaking in English. He addresses his father’s murder and says he’s currently safe with his mother and sister.
“The threat of a mysterious announcement this week suggests that it is designed to throw a monkey wrench in any deal Kim Jong-Un is trying to extract from U.S. President Donald Trump,” The Chosun Ilbo said.
The report cited speculation that Cheollima Civil Defense’s announcement “could be a message from acting North Korean Ambassador to Italy Jo Song-Gil, who disappeared with his family last November.”
In its last message in January, the group said, “Everything is changing this year… We’re carrying out clandestine activities. Contact us if you need help.”
Ahn Chan-Il, a former North Korean military officer who heads up the World Institute for North Korea Studies, said, “Whatever the announcement is, the group seems to have intentionally chosen this timing when the North is on a roll.”
Kim Jong-Nam was the oldest known son of the late dictator Kim Jong-Il and had long been groomed to be his successor. But in 2001, he was caught using a fake passport in Japan, causing his father to lose confidence in him as the successor. His younger half-brother Kim Jong-Un replaced him and took power in late 2011 when Kim Jong-Il died.