The Liaoning Province arm of the Chinese Ministry of State Security arrested South Korean activist Kim Young Hwan at the request of the North Korean National Security Agency, according to information obtained from a Shinuiju source by Choi Seong Yong, the president of the NGO ‘Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea’..
Choi explained today, “I told this to the Committee for the Release of North Korea Human Rights Activist Kim Young Hwan already, ‘Shinuiju National Security Agency’s anti-espionage team asked China to grab Kim Young Hwan and for either them to investigate him for themselves or to bring him to North Korea.’”
“Under orders from Pyongyang, Shinuiju NSA is strongly urging them to turn Kim Young Hwan over to them,” Choi continued. However, “China, concerned by the fact that Kim Young Hwan is quite a big figure, took the step of immediately informing the South Korean government of his detention so that North Korea couldn’t lay a finger on him.
According to Choi, if someone North Korea has listed as dangerous enters China, this information is normally passed on to the North.
This suggests that the North Korean NSA originally requested confirmation of Kim’s arrival in China, which China promptly provided. Thereafter, the NSA requested that the Chinese arrest and detain Kim, which they did six days later along with three other South Koreans. North Korea then requested the transfer of Kim to the NSA, but the Chinese government refused.
It remains to be seen what level of access to Kim the NSA is being given, however. According to Choi, “Shinuiju NSA’s anti-espionage team is bigger than most, more loyal to the regime than most and has more resources than most. It has been possible for them to independently conduct activities inside China in accordance with an agreement between them.”
“Dandong is one place where the NSA can act freely to perform investigations and gather information,” one defector who left the North while in the employ of the NSA in 2010 said. “Shinuiju NSA agents regard working in Shinuiju and in Dandong as one in the same.”