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'N. Korea is subject for change, not destruction,' says Thae Yong-ho

'N. Korea is subject for change, not destruction,' says Thae Yong-ho

Posted November. 02, 2017 07:32,   

Updated November. 02, 2017 09:15


Thae Yong-ho, North Korea's former deputy ambassador in London, emphasized a soft power strategy with introduction of outside information to North Korea, by saying, “North Korea is not the subject for destruction but it is the subject for change,” during his lecture at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Tuesday (local time).

Thae said the United States should use “soft power before taking any military action” even though he is in support of a maximum pressure policy. He also talked about the popularity of small digital memory cards in North Korea, which can be inserted into a smart phone, and they are called “nose card” because users can hide them in their nostrils in emergency. Thae said if companies such as Google send satellite signals that can be picked up in North Korea, North Koreans may be able to watch foreign shows at home.

He stressed the significance of developing a tailored program to enhance North Koreans’ understanding of basic human rights. “If a pretty girl is called upon by the authorities in Pyongyang, North Koreans regard it as an honor instead of sexual exploitation or violation of human rights,” said the former senior diplomat. In other words, his intention was to criticize a lack of understanding about human rights in North Korea to the level that women are even happy to be chosen to serve the Kim family and an elite group sexually.

Thae testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a Wednesday hearing, titled “An Insider’s Look at the North Korean Regime.” The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act and the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act focusing on a secondary boycott.

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com