HomeAsian AmericansMan says he was spying in North Korea for South Korean and...

Man says he was spying in North Korea for South Korean and US intelligence

Kim Dong-chul pictured to the far right with hands raised next to Melania Trump, at the end of return to American soil after release from prison. Photo is a screenshot from ABC News YouTube footage.

US citizen Kim Dong-chul, whose release from North Korean prison was secured by Trump last year, said he had been spying for Seoul and Washington, NK News reported on Monday.

The Korean American pastor was arrested in the northeastern city of Rason in October 2015. He was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor on charges of espionage and subversive acts against Pyongyang, according to The Korea Herald.

The North Korean state media at the time said Kim confessed to collecting Workers’ Party, government, and military secrets, and handing them over to South Korean intelligence.

Kim told NK News that what he said during the press conference was mostly true; he claims he had also cooperated with the US Central Intelligence Agency to procure “very significant” information on issues of interest to US intelligence.

Kim was one of three US citizens released in a 2018 amnesty secured in negotiations between the Trump administration and Kim Jong Un’s regime, a month ahead of the first summit between the two leaders in June last year, according to Newsweek.

“I filmed footage with a watch (equipped with a camera) and used electromagnetic wave wiretapping equipment,” he said earlier this month, according to NK News.

He claims US intelligence asked him to work as an “antenna” in North Korea and provide detailed information on the North Korean military and nuclear program, tasking him with recruiting double agents across the nation. He said he spied for the CIA for about six years before he was caught and sent to a labor camp.

“The CIA detected a suspicious vessel at the Rajin port through satellite imagery … and asked me to take very close-up photos of it and figured out what it was being used for … I delivered that information just before (my arrest).”

North Korean authorities said Kim was found with a USB stick containing military and nuclear secrets when he was detained in Rason, according to BBC News.

“I became a traitor overnight and was locked up in a forced labor camp,” said Kim. “I hit rock bottom.”

Kim said that in prison he was subjected to beatings by guards and other forms of torture that left parts of his body paralyzed. He also said he made a few attempts to commit suicide. “I could not die,” he recalled.

NK News said the US State Department, the CIA, and South Korea’s National Intelligence Service did not respond to requests for comments in response to Kim’s statements.

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