August 21, 2006

South Korea arrests suspected spy from North

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has arrested a suspected
North Korean spy who entered the country at a time when
tensions are running high on the peninsula, a parliamentary
official said on Monday,

The arrest comes after North Korea defied international
warnings and test fired seven missiles on July 5, and news
reports from the United States last week said North Korea may
be preparing to conduct its first nuclear weapons test.

The official with the parliamentary Intelligence Committee,
who asked not to be identified, said the suspect was a
48-year-old man.

He was arrested on July 31 after entering South Korea from
the Philippines with a forged passport. The suspect has been
taken into custody and will likely be charged this week with
violating South Korea's national security law, the official

Yonhap news agency cited a government source familiar with
intelligence matters as saying the suspect is the first North
Korean spy arrested trying to enter the country since 2003.

The National Intelligence Service has exposed eight North
and South Koreans for spying for the North since the current
administration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun took
office in early 2003, the source told Yonhap.

Fear of North Korean spies ran high in South Korea for
several decades following the 1950-1953 Korean War, especially
of North Korean agents who were trained for armed infiltration.

Armed North Korean agents tried to make their way into the
South's presidential Blue House in the late 1960s.

Concerns about armed North Korean infiltrators started to
subside over the past several years as engagement between the
two Koreas has increased and democracy took root in the South,
which had once been ruled by military-backed leaders.