North Korean Defectors to Create Government in Exile, Paper Says

  • DongA Ilbo reports high-profile group plans government in U.S.
  • Group would combine democracy with Chinese economy model

Thae Yong Ho.

Photographer: Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo

A group of high-profile defectors are planning to establish a North Korean government in exile in the U.S. early next year, a South Korean newspaper reported Friday, citing one the of the group’s leaders.

The defectors -- some of whom are based in South Korea -- aim to play a key role in the democratization of North Korea, the DongA Ilbo newspaper said. The move comes amid an increase of high-profile defections and an apparent rise in the number of elite officials in the isolated nation turning against leader Kim Jong Un, the newspaper reported.

According to the report, the government-in-exile would seek to install a democratic political system with a Chinese model for the economy that would attract support from Beijing. It would be based in the U.S. because South Korea’s constitution includes the North in its territory.

In August, the second highest-ranked official at the North Korean embassy in London defected to South Korea. Thae Yong Ho told South Korean officials that he defected because of his disillusionment with Kim Jong Un’s regime and his yearning for freedom.

Earlier this week, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported that two senior North Korean officials in Beijing sought asylum at the Japanese embassy in late September. One official was in charge of purchasing medicine and medical devices for Kim, the paper said.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s military is on standby for a possible North Korean nuclear or intermediate-range ballistic missile test, Yonhap News reported Friday.

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