Elite North Korean defector says more diplomats waiting to escape

Elite North Korean defector says more diplomats waiting to escapeA former North Korean deputy ambassador to London who defected to Seoul last year said a large number of his fellow diplomats have recently fled to South Korea, even though such flights have not been made public, Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday.

Thae Yong-Ho defected to South Korea in August last year and since December 2016 has been speaking to local media and appearing on variety television shows to discuss his defection to Seoul and his life as a North Korean envoy.

"A significant number of diplomats came to South Korea. Even now, there are a number of (North Koreans) waiting to head to the South," Thae Yong-Ho told a conference hosted by the conservative Bareun Party which will be formally launched this month.

"There will be an increase in the number of elite-class defectors seeking a better life," he added.

Thae also called for preparations for a people's uprising to topple the Kim Jong-un regime to forge lasting peace and stability on the peninsula.

"We should spark an uprising through an influx of outside information," Thae said, adding that sanctions against Pyongyang should be maintained.

"We need to bolster pressure on the human rights issue. While keeping sanctions, there should be private-level exchanges, and steps taken to separate the North Korean regime from its people," he said.

Thae said less than 20 percent of the foodstuffs provided to North Korea actually reach the people, and claimed there should be efforts to make them realize that the South has made donations.

"Giving them (aid) for free will only solidify the North Korean regime and its development of nukes," Thae argued.

The former diplomat said North Korea is seeking to develop nukes as it considers the South as an object to be destroyed, rather than a counterpart of coexistence.

He described North Korea as just a slave society that serves the Kim hereditary monarch, not a genuine communist country.

"The concept of a proletarian dictatorship is long gone in North Korea. It has instead become a single gigantic slave society that exists only for the Kim family," Thae said at the National Assembly.

Thae claimed Kim Jong-un is facing challenges as, unlike his father, he did not have enough time to prepare for the succession of power.
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