North Korea is seen as an enigma to many around the world, due to its secrecy. As much as this secrecy breeds frustration, it also breeds curiosity. Very few individuals have been given permission to report on what life is like in North Korea, so very few assumptions can be made about life inside the country.
North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho, who defected from Kim Jong-un’s regime to live in South Korea, has now spoken about his experiences working in North Korea. Thae Yong-ho was North Korea’s Deputy Ambassador to Great Britain, and lived in Ealing, London with his family until his defection in August 2016. Yong-ho stated that he was “sick and tired of the Kim Jong-un regime”, which played a part in his reason to defect.
After defecting from his position in August, Thae Yong-ho and his family were transported in secret to South Korea where they currently reside. Yong-ho has now spoken to officials in South Korea about his time working with Kim Jong-un and about what life is like inside the dictator-ruled country.
Find out what he revealed on the next page. Information regarding life inside the North Korean government has emerged. Former North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho has spoken to South Korean officials about life inside North Korea, after his defection from Kim Jong-un’s government led him to move to the neighbouring country.
Thae Yong-ho defected from Kim Jong-un’s government in August 2016, and is one of the highest-ranking government officials to have done so. Yong-ho formerly worked at North Korea’s embassy in London. After defecting to South Korea, Kim Jong-un’s government claimed that Yong-ho had committed a variety of crimes whilst working for the North Korean government, including embezzlement of state funds, raping a minor and spying for South Korea in exchange for money.
Speaking to South Korean officials, Thae Yong-ho spoke of Kim Jong-un’s regime, saying that those who live in North Korea are suffering “slavery” under Kim Jong-un’s rule, with government officials subject to harsher state surveillance to keep them from leaving.
Thae Yong-ho also said that he is hoping to work towards “freeing the North Korean people from repression and persecution” and “engage in public activities even if it threatens [my] own safety”, according to Head of Intelligence Lee Cheol Woo.
Thae Yong-ho and his family are to be introduced into South Korean society this week, with police protection from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service in place to ensure their safety. With Yong-ho pledging to help civilians in his former country, it will be interesting to see how Kim Jong-un and his government react to these claims.