Go to contents

‘N. Korea seeks to get U.S. troops out of S. Korea for reunification,’ Tae says

‘N. Korea seeks to get U.S. troops out of S. Korea for reunification,’ Tae says

Posted November. 03, 2017 07:27,   

Updated November. 03, 2017 09:04


North Korea is seeking to follow the Vietnamese model of reunification by having the U.S. troops withdrawn from South Korea through negotiations with Washington after completing its nuclear weapons development, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea last year said Wednesday.

Thae Yong-ho, a former deputy chief at the North Korean Embassy in London, told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that Kim Jong Un has a “roadmap,” in which the North would seek negotiations with the United States once it completes its nuclear program and demand that Washington reduce its joint military exercises with Seoul and ultimately withdraw its troops out of South Korea. He added the North calculates that once the U.S. troops leaves the Korean Peninsula, foreign investors in South Korea would also follow suit due to anxiety over security.

Thae also said that Kim Jong Un believes the North would become free from international sanctions once it completes its development and deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles and get Washington to recognize Pyongyang’s status as a nuclear state. The United States should send a clear message that it would never recognize the North as a nuclear state, he said.

Asked if the North would launch a nuclear attack on South Korea, Thae said Kim Jong Un would “do anything” if he thinks his life is threatened. “It is necessary to reconsider whether we have tried all nonmilitary options before we decide that military action against North Korea is all that is left,” he said.

Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com