North Korea Arrests South Korean Spy in Pyongyang, KCNA Reports

North Korea said it arrested a South Korean spy who was trying to foment instability, creating a new irritant in ties between the two adversaries.

The South Korean intelligence agent was detained in Pyongyang and at first claimed to be Chinese, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said yesterday, citing an unidentified spokesman for the Ministry of State Security.

“He entered the DPRK to rally dishonest elements within the boundary of the DPRK and use them for undermining the stability of the social system,” KCNA said, referring to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The arrest may further sour ties that hit a low in February when North Korea tested its third atomic device and then threatened nuclear strikes against the U.S. and South Korea over United Nations sanctions. On Nov. 6, North Korea rejected the idea of a summit after South Korean President Park Geun Hye said she was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if it led to concrete results.

Two South Korean Unification Ministry officials didn’t immediately answer calls after working hours yesterday seeking comment about the KCNA report. Last month, the North repatriated six detained South Koreans.

The North Korean ministry spokesman said that before entering Pyongyang, the alleged spy had spent nearly six years spying on the North from a neighboring country while “disguising himself as a religionist.”

The two Koreas remain technically in conflict after the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a formal peace treaty.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Kim in Seoul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at

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