Top N. Korean defector to testify at U.S. Congress

October 31, 2017

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) — A high-ranking North Korean defector will be in the United States this week to testify before Congress, according to a Republican lawmaker.

Thae Yong-ho, who was the No. 2 official at North Korea’s embassy in London before defecting to South Korea last year, will speak before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said on the panel’s website.

“As we intensify our efforts to counter North Korea’s nuclear threats, we must consider the full array of policy options at our disposal,” Royce, the committee chairman, said. “Mr. Thae, who defected from North Korea last year, has valuable insights into the Kim regime’s vulnerabilities.”

Thae is the highest-ranking North Korean diplomat to defect to South Korea. Since his defection, he has given numerous public speeches and comments about the threat posed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s regime.

The hearing comes as Washington has ratcheted up sanctions on Pyongyang to compel it to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“This hearing will be an opportunity to learn how best to apply maximum diplomatic and financial pressure on the Kim regime,” Royce said. “We will examine the impact our sanctions are having, as well as our efforts to empower the North Korean people with the truth about Kim Jong-un’s brutal human rights abuses.”

This file photo shows Thae Yong-ho. (Yonhap)This file photo shows Thae Yong-ho. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr

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