North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to feel "extremely nervous" about the allies' possible clandestine operation to eliminate him, South Korea's intelligence agency told lawmakers Thursday.
Due to concerns over potential airstrikes and assassination attempts, the young tyrant prefers to move at dawn and uses his subordinates' cars, such as a Lexus car, not his own Mercedes-Benz 600, the National Intelligence Services told a closed-door parliamentary session, according to Rep. Lee Cheol-woo of the main opposition Liberty Party of Korea, who attended the meeting.
South Korea and the US are seeking to establish a special forces team to take out Pyongyang's leadership in the event of a contingency.
Scheduled to be created by the end of this year, the unit will be tasked with eliminating Kim and paralysing the North's command and control system.
"Kim is so engrossed with collecting information about the 'decapitation operation' through his intelligence agency," said Lee, referring to the title of the clandenstie operation targeting Kim.
Despite economic hardship in the country, North Korea appears to have inched closer to securing key technology to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles through a series of successful missile tests, the NIS also said.
Regarding the controversy over a suspected North Korean drone found last week in South Korea, the spy agency said the drone took a total of 551 pictures of the South's territory, including a Terminal Altitude Area Defence battery located in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province.
The NIS also revealed that a total of six South Korean nationals are currently detained in North Korea, with most of them arrested for engaging in religious activities or helping North Korean defectors.
If Korean-Americans are included, the number of detainees is 10, the NIS told the parliament.
The North Korean leader has reduced his propaganda public activities "by a significant amount," which the NIS said suggests that the young leader has begun to feel confident about his grip on the communist state.
"The number of Kim Jong-un's public activities was 51, a 32 per cent decrease from last year," an NIS official was quoted as saying by Rep. Lee.
"Since 2013, we have seen a downward trajectory of Kim's public activities. We believe that Kim feels very confident (about his leadership).
The number shows he has succeeded in grasping power and secured his status in the regime," he said.
The regime has seen a "significant surge" in oil prices, as the United Nations has continued to enforce its economic sanctions and China has reduced its supply of crude and refined oil.
"North Korea supplies most of its oil to special places. Therefore, the household oil price has increased a lot. The oil price had been set at around 6,000 won (S$7.34) per kilogram. The price increased to 20,000 won in May and it stands at around 15,000 won currently," the NIS said.