August 31, 2011: South Korea revealed that its intelligence forces near the DMZ had overheard North Korean commanders discussing trying to shoot down the South Korean Defense Minister (Kim Kwan Jin)
during a visit to the DMZ two months ago. South Korean intel believes that the North Koreans were not really planning to shoot down the Defense Minister’s helicopter, but were sending a message that they could have.
Although the Defense Minister’s helicopter stayed out of range of North Korean anti-aircraft weapons known to be stationed at the DMZ, the North Koreans could have brought up some longer range weapons. All this disturbed the South Koreans because the North Koreans obviously knew of the Defense Minister’s schedule (which was supposed to be secret.) It is believed that the North Koreans obtained the information by piecing together bits of data from unencrypted radio chatter among South Korean units on the DMZ. Work is underway to try and plug that vulnerability.
All this North Korean attention for the South Korean Defense Minister may have something to do with revelations that South Korea reserve units were using pictures of North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un for target practice.