Thae Yong-ho will testify at the House of Representatives next week

For those who have not read my previous posts about him, Thae was the number two diplomat at the North Korean embassy in London before he defected just over one year ago. Since his defection, Thae, who speaks excellent English, has shown his potential to be a powerful messenger to the world, and to the elites in Pyongyang, about the nature of the regime he once defended.

His testimony comes at a time when Kim Jong-un appears to have slowed a stream of high-level defections that had threatened to start a preference cascade and expose the regime’s entire overseas financial network. In recent months — perhaps coincidentally, since approximately the time Moon Jae-in took power in South Korea and appointed a former pro-North Korean, anti-American activist as his Chief of Staff — we’ve read about fewer high-profile defections and heard less from Thae himself. Whether that surge of defections has halted or merely gone unreported isn’t clear.

It also comes at a time when the U.S. government is also downplaying the importance of human rights in North Korea, sending messages that North Korean refugees are unwelcome, and merging the position of Special Envoy for Human Rights into a full-time part-time job instead of using it as a global pulpit for a more humane, tough-love policy.

The slowing of those defections also coincides with a campaign by the hard-left lawyers of Minbyun — a campaign largely ignored by the foreign press — to intimidate and expose refugees in the South. Pyongyang has also induced at least one high-profile defector into returning to Pyongyang and publicly renouncing the South, using means I can more easily guess based on past events than prove in this specific case. To gullible reporters, this campaign to publicize “re-defections” is evidence that North Koreans can’t adjust to life in a modern society. To more inquisitive journalists, and to the North Koreans themselves, the message will be the same one that Pyongyang’s assassins have delivered to refugees and Christian missionaries in China, to dissidents in South Korea, and at the airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur: “You can’t escape from us.” Perhaps Thae can better elucidate the reasons for this than I can.

Thae will testify at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, at Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building, on November 1st at 10:00 a.m. Because the government of North Korea has repeatedly sponsored acts of international terrorism, security will be tight. The hearing will also be webcast live on the Committee’s website.


  1. Author says “..regime stemming level of high-level defections”. I think all defections are important. I think there are many factors that are plotting against defectors. 1)Evil extremism of regime on Chinese border – Hamgyong provence* -Electrified fences (death and ear drums destroyed) as shown by RimJinGang. We know DPRK guards depending on factors, shoots defectors (Even Russian (RT) documentary has shown female Tumen river corpse in the mud, and called DPRK a ‘Hooligan’ regime.
    2)Some ROK citizen indiffernce/hyper competitive society/Dog-eat-dog world.
    3)Many North Korean High level officials and DPRK sympathizers read English. THey help the regime close loophole. Persecute the underground railroad through China to Mongolia and Thailand. THey read what is online by their enemies: Ego driven pro ROK/proUSA supporters who have loose lips and tell too much about secrets on how to defect **
    4)North Korean high level officials are hustlers. They are class privledged. One day they are screwing their working class North Koreans, the next day they are looking for ways to sing-the-anti-DPRK song as a way for status and personal enrichment when they defect.
    *I know most people never study defections let alone DPRK geography. But Hamgyong is where the most defections come from (Wikipedia).
    – South Korean intelligence, National Geographic and scores of other sources tell us most defectors are women (71% last year).


  2. “security will be tight, because the Government of North Korea has repeatedly (terrorism)” says this blog post<——Good. But we know DPRK government trying an attack on American soil is something SOME might want to do. They are bullies and if they did it. Those B-1 bombers would not be stopping in international airspace, they would joyfulfully ending the reign of the Kim Jong-Un, even if current ROK government didn't want it or not.