NORTH KOREA, Jan. 17, 2016 (UPI) — A former North Korea diplomat who fled Pyongyang’s embassy in London wants South Koreans to stop calling his country of origin a communist state.
“North Korea is not a communist society but a slave state presided over by a system of hereditary rule,” Thae Yong-ho told South Korean parliamentarians during a symposium on Tuesday, local news service News 1 reported. “I have to stop experts whenever they use words like, ‘communist regime of North Korea’.”
Thae added there was a time when “true communists in North Korea made ideological contributions to the dictatorship of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il … but today, the ‘proletarian dictatorship’ has disappeared, and Kim [Jong Un] has become a hereditary politician.”
The best way to pressure North Korea, Thae said, is to continue enforcing sanctions while developing civic exchange, according to South Korean news service Newsis.
South Korea “should develop a guiding principle of civic exchange to separate the regime from ordinary North Koreans,” the former diplomat told lawmakers.
International sanctions against North Korea for its pursuit of nuclear weapons development should not be eased, and the “impact of sanctions on North Korea should not be evaluated based on the impact to North Korea’s unofficial markets,” Thae said.
“Rather the psychological shifts among North Koreans and whether [the sanctions] strengthen or weaken the regime must be evaluated,” said the former deputy ambassador. “North Koreans, under endless sanctions, are feeling mentally agitated while asking ‘When will we, too, live in prosperity’?”
Thae also said there are North Korea diplomats in Europe who are seriously considering defecting like himself, according to News 1.
Some are hesitating because they are not sure whether they, as members of the North Korean elite, could enjoy the same social status in the South as they do as members of Pyongyang’s government, Thae said.