Wednesday 18 October 2017

Top North Korean diplomat defected to save sons from 'miserable life'

Thae Yong Ho speaks with media at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Seoul, South Korea (Ed Jones, Pool Photo via AP)
Thae Yong Ho speaks with media at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Seoul, South Korea (Ed Jones, Pool Photo via AP)

The highest-level North Korean diplomat ever to defect to South Korea has said he decided to flee because he did not want to see his children living "miserable" lives.

Thae Yong Ho, a former minister at the North's embassy in London, said his two sons were one of the main reasons why he came to South Korea last year.

Mr Thae said his sons had complained about being made fun of by their classmates in London because of the nature of their homeland.

He said he subsequently told them the truth about the North.

Mr Thae concluded his sons would have "miserable" lives when they returned home later because they had come to know the truth about the North.

He said his disappointment with leader Kim Jong Un was another reason to defect.

Press Association

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