North Korea’s state-run media have lambasted supposed allegations by South Korea’s intelligence committee that Pyongyang has ties with the so-called Islamic State group, aka ISIS, which has amassed large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq. North Korea characterized the report as “slander and fabrications,” UPI reported Monday.
"The South Korea authorities are using the National Intelligence Service to push our two peoples to fight against each other by carelessly tossing around claims of connections to terrorist groups," Pyongyang said in a statement.
South Korea and North Korea are longtime adversaries, but tensions calmed after an agreement was reached in August over a series of flash points. That month, the two countries exchanged artillery fire and threats of heightened confrontation but ultimately agreed to dial back the situation. But North Korea said the recent South Korean allegations, as well as military exercises, threatened to undo the agreement.
"Not only are the two-faced South Korean authorities throwing cold water on the improved atmospherics of North-South relations, but affairs could relapse to tensions that occurred prior to the August agreement," North Korea said in the statement, which urged “an end” to South Korea’s alleged speculations about ties to ISIS.
Pyongyang's state-controlled media outlet Uriminzokkiri claimed Seoul's National Assembly Intelligence Committee had said last week that North Korea has possible ties to ISIS, but "they have not found concrete evidence."
North Korea sent a message of condolence to France a few days after terrorist attacks in Paris killed and wounded hundreds this month. ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, has routinely threatened to expand such missions across the globe.
North Korea is considered an ally of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, a foe of ISIS. The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to strong relations at an event this year, during which North Korea’s ambassador to Damascus called Syria’s civil war a result of conspiracies by the U.S. and its puppets.