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North Korea has a long history of odd accusations

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/05/2017 By KIM TONG-HYUNG and FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2015 file photo, North Koreans bow to bronze statues of the late leaders, Kim Il Sung, left, and his son Kim Jong Il, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea to mark the fourth anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death. North Korea claimed in 2012 that South Korean spies persuaded a defector from the North to infiltrate the country and try to destroy statues of state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. In a news conference in Pyongyang, a man identified as Jon Yong Chol said he was paid by South Korean agents to blow up a Kim Il Sung monument using a remote-controlled bomb. People who have appeared at such staged events have later said they were coerced. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2015 file photo, North Koreans bow to bronze statues of the late leaders, Kim Il Sung, left, and his son Kim Jong Il, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea to mark the fourth anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death. North Korea claimed in 2012 that South Korean spies persuaded a defector from the North to infiltrate the country and try to destroy statues of state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. In a news conference in Pyongyang, a man identified as Jon Yong Chol said he was paid by South Korean agents to blow up a Kim Il Sung monument using a remote-controlled bomb. People who have appeared at such staged events have later said they were coerced. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File)

SEOUL, South Korea — A turncoat assassin sent to North Korea armed with "nano poison" to kill leader Kim Jong Un?

It's only the latest in a string of odd, as-yet-unproven accusations over the years that a proud, highly sensitive North Korea has leveled at its U.S and South Korean rivals.

From alleged South Korean plots to kidnap North Korean waitresses to threats to target the exact coordinates of South Korea's "reptile" anti-North Korea media, the North's propaganda is awash in conspiracy theories and ultraviolent threats.

Here is a collection of some of the most head-turning:

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STATUE BOMBS

North Korea claimed in 2012 that South Korean spies persuaded a defector from the North to infiltrate the country and try to destroy statues of state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un.

In a news conference in Pyongyang, a man identified as Jon Yong Chol said he was paid by South Korean agents to blow up a Kim Il Sung monument using a remote-controlled bomb. People who have appeared at such staged events have later said they were coerced.

North Korea, which has built a personality cult around the Kim clan, considers Kim Il Sung statues sacred. North Korea equated the plot to an "armed invasion" and vowed revenge.

South Korea said Jon, who was arrested by North Korea before he could allegedly blow anything up, defected to the South in 2010. Officials in Seoul said the statue claim was "completely false."

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KIDNAPPING

North Korea regularly accuses South Korea of abducting or enticing its citizens to defect, although Seoul denies it.

After 13 North Korean workers from a restaurant in China defected to South Korea in April last year, North Korea said they were kidnapped by South Korean spies. North Korea has repeatedly demanded their return. It even offered to send North Korean relatives to the South to reunite with the workers, although Seoul rejected the highly unusual overture.

South Korea said the workers chose to resettle in the South on their own. It was the largest group defection by North Koreans to the South since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took power in 2011.

In July last year, North Korea presented to the media a man it alleged was a South Korean spy who tried to enter the North to kidnap children. The detainee, Ko Hyon Chol, apologized for a crime he called "unforgivable," although South Korea's National Intelligence Service said it had no relation to the case.

North Korea often arranges news conferences for foreign detainees during which they read statements that purport to acknowledge their wrongdoing and praise the North's political system. Many detainees have said after their releases that they were coached or coerced on what to say.

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MEDIA MISSILES

In 2012, North Korea's military warned that its troops had aimed artillery at the specific coordinates of South Korean media groups over their critical reports on children's festivals that had been taking place in Pyongyang, threatening a "merciless sacred war" over perceived insults.

The threatened South Korean media companies included TV station Channel A, which described the festivals involving tens of thousands of children as an Adolf Hitler-style "political show."

"Officers and men of the army corps, divisions and regiments on the front, and strategic rocket forces in the depth of the country are loudly calling for the issue of order to mete out punishment," said the statement by the North's Korean People's Army.

North Korea said it would attack the news companies if South Korea didn't apologize for orchestrating the "vicious smear campaign," although it didn't carry out the threat.

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COMMANDO ASSAULT

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last December oversaw a military drill that involved a simulated attack on the Blue House, South Korea's presidential office and residence.

Photos from the North's state media showed Kim laughing as his special forces troops attacked what appeared to be a full-scale mock-up of the Blue House before setting it on fire.

The drill took place shortly after South Korean lawmakers voted to impeach former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was formally removed from office in March and now awaits a corruption trial in jail.

South Korea's military "strongly condemned" the drill and warned of "fatal" consequences if the North provoked it.

The drill was particularly disturbing for South Koreans who remember a failed attempt by North Korean commandos in 1968 to assassinate then dictator Park Chung-hee, the father of Park Geun-hye. The 31 commandos came within striking distance of the Blue House, but South Korean security forces managed to repel the assault at the last minute. The only commando captured said he had come to "slit the throat" of Park Chung-hee.

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