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Ex-NK Spy Denies 1987 Korean Air Bombing Was Faked

Posted March. 12, 2009 07:55,   


The former North Korean spy who helped orchestrate the 1987 bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 denied yesterday that the incident was a fabrication.

Kim Hyon-hui told reporters in Busan, “The bombing of the Korean Air jet was a terror attack committed by North Korea. I am not a fake.”

In her first public appearance in 12 years, Kim met the family of Yaeko Taguchi, a Japanese woman who was kidnapped by North Korea in 1978. They held a joint news conference after their meeting.

Shigeo Iizuka, Taguchi’s elder brother, and the kidnap victim’s son Koichiro Iizuka said, “Today is a historic day and emotional day. We thank the Korean government and people and the Japanese government who made this meeting possible.”

The following are excerpts of Kim’s comments.

Q: Why did you seek a meeting with the family of Japanese kidnap victim Yaeko Taguchi at this point?

Kim: When I saw Taguchi’s son on Japanese TV, I thought I’d meet him someday.”

Q: Why did you decide to enter the public spotlight for the first time in 12 years?

Kim: After I got married in 1997, I wanted to keep a low profile in isolation from society in consideration of the pain and suffering of the bereaved families of the 1987 bombing victims. But the previous administration raised suspicion (over the bombing). I hear that the incumbent government is investigating what happened under its predecessor and I await the result.

Q: Several questions on the bombing remain unanswered. Would you be willing to respond to a request for a meeting with the bereaved families?

Kim: I once met several bereaved families in December 1997 when I handed over proceeds from the sale of my book. I wept a lot, and the bereaved families consoled me and told me to live a happy life. I understand some of the bereaved families raised suspicions. The bombing of the Korean Air flight was terrorism committed by Pyongyang. I regret to say this on this kind of occasion.

Q: What do you think is an effective way to get clear answers from North Korea on its past abductions?

Kim: The Japanese government must agonize to find ways to move Pyongyang’s heart but also allow it to save face. I think this occasion is a good opportunity for South Korea and Japan to begin concerted efforts to address the abduction issue.