Thae Yong-ho, former deputy ambassador at the North Korean embassy in the United Kingdom, said in an interview with Time magazine Wednesday (local time) that he is “absolutely sure that within 20 years, demonstrations similar to those in Hong Kong will take place in North Korea.”
“Now in North Korea, Kim Jong Un is the only one in his thirties in the North Korean leadership. The people around him are all in their late sixties, seventies or eighties. So, power is still in the hands of the ruthless and merciless second generation. But if we look back to what happened in Communist states in the past, for instance what happened in the former Soviet Union, Gorbachev was the third generation,” Thae said. “The demonstrators in Hong Kong are third generation. After 10 or 20 years, when the power is with the (third) generation, I think the people will be brave enough to go to the streets.”
The former diplomat said that “the current regime can be termed a socialist skeleton. The bones have a socialist structure, but the flesh has already turned capitalist.” “If you look at the millennial generation of North Korea, they are the only ones who have grown up with computers. And they are not interested in watching communist or socialist cultural content. They are only interested in American of South Korean movies or dramas. I think that the young generations’ eyes are not on ideological things, but on material things,” Thae commented. The young generations in Pyongyang also “do not use ‘comrade,’ but they use something like South Korea, ‘oppa,’ like brother,” according to Thae.
The high-ranking defector analyzed that there is no chance that Kim will embrace reforms. “They (Kim and his family) want the dynasty to go on and on. So, I think the final change of North Korea will be the collapse of the Kim dynasty.” As for the nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea, Thae said that he thinks “President Trump is playing a very dangerous game with North Korea. Kim Jong Un actually strengthened his legitimacy and absolute rule over North Korea while avoiding a so-called military option and additional sanctions.”