March 30 (UPI) — A group of North Korean defectors seeking to create a government-in-exile held its inaugural assembly in Los Angeles.
The group includes 27 defectors, and among them, 11 “joint advocates,” Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.
The defectors met March 11, and for their safety the event was not commemorated with photographs.
The names of participants are also not being released, according to the report.
In its inaugural declaration, the group said it is preparing ways to reform North Korea, which would include the overthrowing of hereditary rule and the Kim family, taking over state affairs, and carrying out steps to establishing a “free democracy” and a market economy in the country.
A total of 12 points were included in the declaration, according to RFA.
Jo Bo Eol, the secretary general of the group, said defectors have been “dreaming of the creation of a government-in-exile for the last 20 years.”
“This group is taking the final steps to create a North Korea government-in-exile,” Jo said.
Jo, who now lives as a North Korean refugee in the United States, said the group is making plans while guessing the Kim regime could collapse within the next seven years.
Mid- and long-term plans until 2023 have been approved, Jo said.
If the exile government is recognized, it could play a decisive role in communicating with the U.S. government and pave a road to Korean unification, the activist said.
Jo said the group is preparing to lobby the Trump administration and Congress, and would disband after South Korea absorbs the current North Korean state, and Seoul’s democratic system is in place north of the demilitarized zone.
In a previous interview with a Korean language newspaper in California, Jo said the Kim regime intends to stay in power for 100, and even 200 years.
Seoul said on Feb. 22 it did not necessarily support the idea of an exile government, according to Korea Daily in Los Angeles.