Kim Jong Un has taken his personal protection to a new level. Japanese media reported Friday that the North Korean dictator, who already only travels at night out of fear of attack, has linked up with 10 former KGB agents to avoid assassination.
A source told the Asahi Shimbun that Kim reached out to the ex-members of the Russian secret intelligence agency in February. They came to Pyongyang as military advisers to give advice to Kim’s guards on how to handle threats—including those that may come from the U.S. The outlet also speculated that the former KGB agents may be helping the North Korean government weed out spies there.
“North Korea is showing great interest in defending against assassination carried out by U.S.-made state-of-the-art weapons,” the source told the Asahi, according to a translation from United Press International. The former spies from the Soviet security agency were asked “to carry out military education and training needed in detecting and pre-emptively suppressing acts of terror.
Kim has been paranoid about assassination for a while. In June, South Korean National Intelligence services revealed that the supreme leader had begun using different cars to move around. He’s also cut down on his number of public appearances, according to the Korea Herald.
Kim has accused South Korea of attempting to kill him as part of a desired “leadership change.” The U.S. Pacific Command, however, tweeted in April, “We want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees.” In May, Pyongyang said it would “mercilessly” wipe out terrorists planning to kill the leader.
Meanwhile, it’s been speculated Kim has been involved in another assassination-related news story: that of a relative.
The Nikkei Asian Review reported this week that Jang Song Thaek, Kim’s uncle, had tried to organize a coup with China back in 2012 to put Kim Jong Nam in power. Jang was executed in 2013 after being convicted of treason. Kim Jong Nam was murdered earlier this year when two women put a poison on his face, causing some to hypothesize that the North Korean dictator ordered the killing.