A shadowy North Korean dissident group claimed responsibility for last month’s raid on Pyongyang’s embassy in Madrid but disputed allegations that what occurred at the diplomatic compound was an “attack” involving armed intruders.
Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD), a secretive organization whose goal is to overthrow the Kim regime in North Korea, denied that any other foreign governments were involved in the operation or that it was related to President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s summit in Hanoi, which occurred days later.
“This was not an attack. …Contrary to reports, no one was gagged or beaten. Out of respect for the host nation of Spain, no weapons were used. All occupants in the embassy were treated with dignity and necessary caution. There were no other governments involved with or aware of our activity until after the event,” a statement released by CCD said.
The alleged incident, was carried out by 10 people who a Spanish judge says identified “themselves as members of an association or human rights movement for the liberation of North Korea.” The judge also said he believes the identified intruders, which include American and South Korean citizens, traveled to the US after the attack.
State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said Tuesday that the US government “had nothing to do with” the attack at the embassy. He also noted that the US “would always call for the protection of embassies belonging to any diplomatic mission throughout the world.”
The Cheollima Civil Defense first gained international recognition after it reportedly came to the defense of Kim Han Sol, the son of Kim Jong Nam. Kim Jong Nam, the elder half-brother of North Korea’s leader, was exposed to the deadly nerve agent VX in 2017 while entering an airport in Kuala Lumpur, killing him in minutes. “The Cheollima Civil Defense established credibility by acting quickly and getting Kim Han Sol, the son of Kim Jong Nam, within days of his father’s gruesome assassination,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor at Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.