Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Pro-North Korea source claims Seoul coerced diplomat to defect

An unofficial North Korea spokesman in Japan claims senior diplomat Thae Yong Ho defected because of pressure and bribes from South Korea. Kim Myong Chol, executive director of The Center for North Korea-U.S. Peace, told The Telegraph that Thae could not have left the embassy of his own free will. “This is a typical operation of the South Korean intelligence services and part of a plot to bring down North Korea,” Kim said. Bribes and coercion from Seoul’s spy agency may have played a role, and Kim added South Korean President Park Geun-hye is “trying to seduce North Korean diplomats around the world with money or women.” Kim also claimed Seoul may have abducted Thae’s children first, holding them hostage, until the North Korean diplomat acquiesced to South Korean pressure to defect. Kim’s unofficial account runs contrary to statements from Seoul. A unification ministry spokesman had said earlier this week Thae left because he felt a sense of “disgust” with the Kim Jong Un regime. Another South Korean official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told local news network Channel A Thae’s defection delivered a “heart-attack level” shock to the North Korean diplomatic community.



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