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Leading NK Defectors Group Elects New Chairman

Posted November. 08, 2010 10:40,   


The Committee for the Democratization of North Korea has elected a new chairman to succeed Hwang Jang-yop, who died last month, North Korean defectors said Sunday.

Hong Sun-kyung, 72, the committee’s executive vice chairman and also the head of the North Korean Defectors’ Association, beat out fellow vice chairman Kim Sung-min, who also leads Free North Korea Radio, in a vote of six vice chairmen and three executive committee members Wednesday.

Hong will be officially inaugurated after approval at the committee’s board meeting around Nov. 20.

While a counselor at the North Korean Embassy in Thailand in 1999, Hong defected from the North after being ordered to return to Pyongyang and entered South Korea in 2000. As a senior researcher at a state-run think tank in Seoul, he was the closest aide to the late Hwang.

Following Hwang’s death, the community of North Korean defectors in South Korea will likely be led by a group of leaders under Hong.

The committee is the most authoritative among the 300 defectors organizations active in the South, having staged campaigns to democratize the North under Hwang’s leadership.

Former South Korean President Kim Young-sam is honorary chairman of the committee, while Kim Sung-min, Kang Cheol-hwan, Huh Kwang-il and An Hyuk serve as vice chairmen.