By Kang Seung-woo
North Korea's spy agency is currently planning to launch terrorist style attacks against South Korea on orders from its leader Kim Jong-un, said a ruling party lawmaker Thursday, citing information from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
The NIS usually discloses sensitive information about North Korea through ruling party lawmakers who belong to the National Assembly Intelligence Committee.
According to Rep. Lee Cheol-woo of the ruling Saenuri Party, speaking during a meeting with the committee members, the NIS stated that Pyongyang's possible terror campaign could include cyber attacks, kidnapping South Korean citizens and launching poison gas attacks,.
The participants included Defense Minister Han Min-koo, First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam and Kim Jin-sub, the first deputy chief of the NIS who is in charge of overseas intelligence.
"The North's Reconnaissance General Bureau is preparing for terror acts, including cyber attacks under Kim's directives to intensify preparation for them," Rep. Lee said.
The bureau is tasked with conducting intelligence operations in foreign countries and cyberwarfare.
"The North's terror attacks could be directed at anti-North Korea activists, North Korean defectors and South Korean government officials."
Lee added that multiuse facilities such as subway stations and shopping malls and national infrastructure, including power plants, can be targeted by the North, as well.
"In response to the possible terror attacks by the repressive state, the NIS is collecting the relevant information," the lawmaker said.
The North Korea regime conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and launched a long-range rocket, believed to test its ballistic missile technology, heightening tensions between the two Koreas.
The government believes that such military provocations in a short interval were aimed at bolstering Kim's domestic legitimacy ahead of the seventh congress of the North's ruling Workers' Party in May _ the first time since 1980. The young leader, who came to power in December 2011, is expected to announce new policies and conduct a major reshuffle in the congress.
Amid a growing possibility of terrorist acts perpetuated by the North, Cheong Wa Dae reiterated its call for a swift passage of anti-terrorism bills awaiting parliamentary approval since 2001.
The bills are aimed at better protecting the nation from possible terrorist attacks, but have been gathering dust in the National Assembly for 15 years because the opposition party is concerned about giving more authority to the NIS.
"While North Korea is intensifying its preparations for terror attacks, political interests should not be put above safety and property of the people," Kim Sung-woo, the chief presidential secretary for public affairs, said in a briefing.
"To effectively handle threats from North Korea or international terrorist groups, I strongly ask the National Assembly to process the bill."
According to the NIS, 51 foreign nationals suspected of being affiliated with international terrorist groups have been deported since 2010.