North Korean Defector Says Kim Pushing for Nukes Before 2018

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting tree nursery No. 122 of the Korean People's Army at an undisclosed location. / AFP / KCNA VIA KNS / KCNA / South Korea OUT …
KCNA/AFP/Getty Images

According to a high-level diplomat who defected from North Korea recently, dictator Kim Jong-un is “racing ahead with nuclear development, after setting up a plan to develop it at all costs by the end of 2017.”

“Due to domestic political procedures, North Korea calculates that South Korea and the US will not be able to take physical or military actions to deter North Korea’s nuclear development,” Thae Yong-ho said at a news briefing, as transcribed by CNN.

UPI quotes Thae’s warning that North Korea “never stopped nuclear development, but under Kim Jong Un a timetable has been set,” and the work “stands at the dangerous last stage.”

“If Kim Jong Un has nuclear weapons in his hands, we will forever be his nuclear hostages,” he said, presumably referring to North Korea’s drive to develop nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s former deputy ambassador to London noted with dismay that Kim declared his nuclear ambitions for 2017 at the Workers’ Party congress in May. He said watching the dictator announce “such fanatical policies and obsessing over nuclear development” helped him reach his decision to defect to South Korea, “in order to do something to save the Korean people from nuclear disaster.”

Thae’s outlook was not entirely pessimistic, however. South Korea’s Yonhap News quotes him predicting that “North Korea will collapse on its own when enough external information introduced through drones or USBs reveals the truth of the Kim regime to the residents.”

“This is why the North Korean regime is taking extensive measures to prevent the influx of external information. It continuously lectures people not to watch South Korean movies, TV series, or media,” he said.

According to Thae, “all¬†North Korean officials and their family members overseas are checking South Korean news every day,” with a particular fondness for Yonhap News. He therefore predicted that, “by tomorrow,¬†every North Korean diplomat abroad will be aware of what I have said right now.”

Another interesting passage from Thae’s press conference was his revelation that North Korean diplomats working overseas are paid extremely small salaries by their government — his was less than $1,000 per month in London. They are required to earn foreign currency and send it back to Pyongyang, to help offset the effect of sanctions imposed on the outlaw regime.


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