SEOUL - A shadowy dissident group accused of breaking into North Korea's embassy in Madrid last month said on Thursday (March 28) it was temporarily suspending operations, after a Spanish judge issued international arrest warrants for two suspects Spanish authorities say fled to the United States.
Cheollima Civil Defence, also known as Free Joseon, acknowledged on its website late on Tuesday it was behind the Feb 22 incident but said it was not an attack and that the group had been invited into the embassy.
In a statement on the website on Thursday, Cheollima Civil Defence said that while it has "bigger tasks ahead," it had temporarily suspended work because of "speculative" media reports.
"We ask the media to restrain itself in its interest in our organisation and its members," the statement said, noting that the group's membership includes North Korean refugees, but that it had not recently contacted defectors living in South Korea.
A Spanish judicial source said on Wednesday that warrants were issued for the group's alleged leader and another suspect after a Spanish court investigation found that they had broken into the embassy, tried to persuade an official to defect and then stolen computer equipment.
The suspected leader has been identified by the court as Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican citizen who is a US resident.
The other suspect sought in the arrest warrant is Sam Ryu, a US citizen of Korean descent.