An ex-commando North Korean assassin by the name of Ahn has been foiled in his attempt to poison anti-North Korean activist Park Sang-hak in South Korea. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service is credited with saving Park Sang-hak from the assassination plot. Chairman of the Freedom Fighters of North Korea, Park is an outspoken and vehement critic of the Stalinist regime in the North, particularly criticizing Dear Leader Kim Jong-il heavily in the press and various media. The UK’s Independent states that the plot to kill Park is similar to the methods employed in the 1978 killing of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov who was stabbed in London with a ricin-tipped umbrella. Park is the son of a North Korean spy and, after defecting from the North, has traveled the world recounting stories of starvation, torture and the brutality of the regime in general. President Lee Myung-bak has ended the Sunshine Policy of his predecessors which had sought engagement with North Korea in order to bring peaceful resolutions to the fore of the Korean quagmire and, instead, President Lee Myung-bak has sought a more hawkish approach with the recalcitrant and recidivistic Northern regime.

Hwang Jang-yop was the target of an earlier attempt this year by North Korean assassins but that plot was foiled as well. Hwang Jang-yop was a major politician in the North until his defection in 1997. Hwang Jang-yop is most famous for his creation of the Juche Idea, the guiding political philosophy of the North Korean state. He is the North’s most prominent defector, having joined the Worker’s Party of Korea in 1946, shortly after its founding. Hwang Jang-yop was a teacher at Kim Il-sung University and taught Kim Jong-il in class. After taking interest in China’s more capitalistic reforms of its system, Hwang Jang-yop was criticized by the regime for his speculation on the positive effects such a reform would have on North Korea. After defecting to the South Korean embassy in Beijing on a return trip from Tokyo, Hwang’s wife committed suicide while their daughter died under mysterious circumstances. Likely, following North Korean state protocol, the rest of his family was shipped off to labor camps where they likely died. Under the Sunshine Policy of Kim Dae-jung, Hwang was not as instrumental in the South’s efforts with regard to North Korea but now that the policy has drawn to a close with the reopening of tensions between the two, Hwang found himself enjoying renewed status in the South. On the 10th of October 2010 Hwang was found dead in his home of an apparent heart attack. Thus far no evidence has been uncovered that he was assassinated though he was quoted as having said that death of old age and death by Kim Jong-il are one and the same thus he did not fear death.