North Korean elite is turning against Kim Jong-un, says defector – Reuters in Seoul Wednesday 25 January 2017 06.20 EST


 Thae Yong-ho speaks with media at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Ed Jones/AP


Thae Yong-ho speaks with media at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Ed Jones/AP

North Korea’s elite are outwardly expressing their discontent towards Kim Jong-un and his government as more outside information trickles into the isolated nation, the country’s former deputy ambassador to London has said.

Thae Yong-ho defected to South Korea in August last year and since December has been speaking to media and appearing on television to discuss his defection and his life as a North Korean envoy.

“When Kim Jong-un first came to power, I was hopeful that he would make reasonable and rational decisions to save North Korea from poverty, but I soon fell into despair watching him purging officials for no proper reasons,” Thae said during his first news conference with foreign media on Wednesday.

“Low-level dissent or criticism of the regime, until recently unthinkable, is becoming more frequent,” said Thae, who spoke in fluent, British-accented English. “We have to spray gasoline on North Korea, and let the North Korean people set fire to it.”

Thae, 54, has said publicly that dissatisfaction with Kim prompted him to flee his post. Two university-age sons and his wife defected with him.

North and South Korea are technically still at war as their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The north, which is subject to UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes, regularly threatens to destroy the south and its main ally, the US.

Thae is the most senior official to have fled North Korea and entered public life in the south since the 1997 defection of Hwang Jang-yop, the brains behind the North’s governing ideology, Juche, which combines Marxism and extreme nationalism.

Article continues: 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s