North Korea announced on Thursday that it arrested two South Koreans, who were accused of spying, and branded them as 'heinous terrorists'.
The Kim Jong-un regime held a press conference in Pyongyang with the two spies – Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil – accusing them of 'perpetrating espionage against the DPRK under the manipulation of the U.S. and the south Korean puppet group'.
Kim and Choe were identified as South Korean nationals by the south's unification ministry, which has demanded that North Korea free the duo, saying that they have been falsely accused.
"It's very regrettable that the North is making such a groundless claim about them. We strongly call for their quick release and repatriation," the ministry said, according to Yonhap news agency.
However, it seems unlikely that the Kim Jong-un regime will release the spies any time soon, as they have been charged with serious crimes of 'political terrorism' for 'gathering information about the DPRK's party, state and military secrets' according to the north's KCNA state news agency.
"They zealously took part in the anti-DPRK smear campaign of the U.S. imperialists and the puppet group of traitors to isolate and blockade the DPRK in international arena by labeling it 'a country printing counterfeit notes' and 'sponsor of terrorism' while pulling it up over its 'human rights issue'," the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK said, according to KCNA.
North Korea also released audio and video footage purportedly showing Kim and Choe confessing to spying on the Kim Jong-un regime for South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS).
Kim, who was born in South Korea's Daejeon city, reportedly confessed at the conference that he spied on North Korea's nuclear program.
Pyongyang claimed at the conference that Kim had started an underground church in China's Dandong city in 2003 and undertook 'religious propaganda' against the regime.
He has been accused of working as spy agent 'Sin Song Guk' from 2006 and leaking state secrets 'related to the supreme leadership of the DPRK' to the agency.
Kim has also been charged with distributing defaming literature against the regime, including dozens of cartoon books, amusement CD and SD cards, leaflets and video clips about human rights violations in the north.
On the other hand, Choe, hailing from South Korea's Kangwon Province, has been accused of tracking the movements of the 'top leader of the DPRK' and 'luring citizens from the North to South Korea'.
He has been accused of 'luring a woman from the north working in Shenyang in June, 2011 and nine men, 13 women and six children of the inhabitants of the north to south Korea'.
Choe was accused by Pyongyang of being involved in 'Kkotdoeji operation' aimed at buying items things used by the People's Army, including military uniforms, in order to use them when airborne and paratroop units of the south infiltrated into the north.
The sensational arrests are likely to further strain ties between the two countries, which are already in a state of war.
According to Yonhap, the arrests of Kim and Choe brought the number of South Koreans detained by the Kim Jong-un regime to three, including Kim Jeong-wook, a South Korean missionary, was arrested in 2013.