North Korea has a long history of odd accusations

North Korea has accused usa agents of masterminding an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un using a biological weapon. No details were given in the ministry statement of how the supposed plot was uncovered, or of Kim's fate. The North Korean had been equipped with $20,000, a radio transmitter and instructions to launch an attack at a military parade that Kim was attending.

The intelligence agencies, "hotbed of evils in the world, hatched a vicious plot to hurt the supreme leadership of the DPRK", the ministry said in a statement, using the initials for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The detainee, Ko Hyon Chol, apologized for a crime he called "unforgivable", although South Korea's National Intelligence Service said it had no relation to the case.

Analysts say such an assassination operation would be extremely hard to plan and carry out given the massive security around the supreme leader.

North Korea has a history of accusing the United States and South Korea of planning preemptive military attacks and to target its leaders, but analysts said it could be the first time it has accused the allies of an actual assassination attempt.

The ministry claimed that the "lethal results" of detonating a bomb packed with such substances would not take effect for six to 12 months.

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The ministry refers to two payments to "Kim" of $US20,000 and a further two of $100,000 for "bribery" and obtaining equipment.

The alleged plan to use a biochemical agent on a member of North Korea's ruling family resembles the assassination earlier this year of Kim Jong Un's exiled half brother at a Malaysian airport.

The lurid accusations come with Pyongyang and Washington at loggerheads over the North's banned weapons programs, which have seen it subjected to multiple sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions.

It has said its preferred route is to pressure North Korea to given up its nuclear and missile programs through sanctions. The alleged plot was a "hideous crime" the security ministry said, and tantamount to "the declaration of a war". The measure, which now heads for the Senate, also gave the Trump administration 90 days to determine whether Pyongyang should be re-designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, after it was removed from the list in 2008.

The North Korean statement said the plan had "been put into the extremely serious phase of implementation". The North believes the US and South are seeking to assassinate Kim, said Professor Koh Yu-Hwan of Dongguk University.

Photos from the North's state media showed Kim laughing as his special forces troops attacked what appeared to be a full-scale mock-up of the Blue House before setting it on fire. The report did not specify whom he was paid to assassinate.

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