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Ex-DPRK Spy Says 1987 Bombing of Flight 858 Betrays North Korea’s True Olympic Intentions

The last time South Korea hosted the Olympics, North Korea blew up a passenger plane in an attempt to disrupt the events; a former spy convicted for the bombing says little has changed in the years since.

Next month’s Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea have been dubbed the “Peace Olympics,” in part because of an accord between South Korea and North Korea to enter the opening ceremonies under a unified Korean flag and to compete on the same team in the sport of women’s hockey. The historic agreement between the two countries (which are technically still at war) is being heralded as an important thawing of diplomatic relations, but a former PRK operative convicted for her part in the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 858 prior to the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, insists that North Korea remains very much intent on destroying rival South Korea.

“North Korea is using the Olympics as a weapon,” the since-pardoned spy Kim told NBC News. “It’s trying to escape the sanctions by holding hands with South Korea, trying to break free from international isolation.”

Speaking with reporters this week, Kim Hyon-hui recalled a very different mission, more three decades ago, in which she helped to smuggle a bomb aboard a Korean airliner bound for Seoul. The North Korean agents who hid explosives in a portable radio, disembarked when the flight from Baghdad made a stop at Abu Dhabi, but 115 passengers on the Boeing 707 were killed when the aircraft exploded over the Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar on November 28, 1987.

“When I was given the mission, my role was to disrupt the Seoul Olympics,” Kim Hyon-hui explained. “North Korea thought that hosting the Olympics would permanently divide the Koreas and make South Korea more economically powerful than the North. So I was ordered to harm the ‘South Korean puppets’ by hitting the flight.”

Kim Hyon-hui has worked with South Korean intelligence services since her arrest following the bombing. She told CNN that while the tactics used by Kim Jong Un and his father Kim Jong Il (who she says personally assigned the mission to destroy the jetliner) may appear different, the goals are very much the same.

“They are using South Korea to overcome their difficulties,” she warns. “To achieve their goal they execute their own people, siblings, families, do not be fooled, North Korea has not changed at all.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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heungbo January 26, 2018

The DPRK has not changed but the south has. The new president in the south is very far to the left and recently replaced the far right, strict anti-DPRK president who is now in jail. The far left in S. Korea traditionally leans towards anti-Americanism so the DPRK is trying to gain support among the people there and drive a wedge between the US & S. Korea.

highstream January 25, 2018

The U.S. has not been shy about using the Olympics for political purposes either. The Olympics is an event of nationalisms and commercialism dressed up as a “people’s” gathering.

thefareguru January 25, 2018

These points seem to be valid. I have another theory. Korean pride...Asian pride. Personally I think that both sides have realized that the orange-haired one that is stirring up anxiety in their lives is a buffoon. Seeking a detente while Trump is rattling swords is intended to make Trump look inferior... lose face. In that, they have so far been successful. In a way, Trump has been using both sides for his own glory and they find it undignified. Sadly, Kim Jong Un is still Kim Jong Un. No chance of him giving up absolute power in the interests of peace.